Thursday, 3 April 2014

Piece of the day: "Weep not for me, O Mother" by Fyodor Ivanov

I can actually say this time that this composer is truly unknown.

In fact, if it wasn't for one Youtube video kindly uploaded by VataliyGR then I'm sure that his legacy as a composer would have died.

Fyodor Ivanov lived from 1853 - 1919, and was the preceptor of the Moscow Church Choir. He is probably best known for conducting the premiere of Tchaikovsky's "The Angel Cried Out" in Moscow in March 1887. Apart from that, he is absent from most composer databases and is scarcely mentioned where ever you look over the internet. I can't even find a picture of him.

Ivanov - "Weep Not For Me, O Mother"

This wonderful piece of choral music by him is simply heavenly. The lyrics are from the 9th Ode of the Russian Orthodox Canon for Holy Saturday (somewhat appropriate for the season). They are words said by the expired Christ laying in the tomb and the weeping Virgin Mary beholding her crucified son. Death, stillness and pure sadness are captured in the music, especially within the languishing rising 6th sung by the first tenor in the beginning. However, the tone of the piece changes throughout, adopting a more meditative and somber mood, giving closure to Jesus's passing and waiting for the resurrection of the Christ. 

Jusepe de Ribera's "The Lamentation over the Dead Christ"

I love this piece. Share and enjoy.