Art and Faith

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Video. Slava vo Vyshnikh Bogu (Glory to God in the Highest!). Rakhmaninov/Paul Hillier

Thank you Mariusz for giving me the inspiration to create this video. You wished to have a version of this work done by a mixed chorus, so, here it is! This lady bows before the gentleman who gave her such a good idea! The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is directed by Paul Hillier, and the iconography is from the Khram Spasa na Krovi (Church of our Saviour on the Spilt Blood) in St Petersburg. This magnificent church was built on the very spot of the assasination of Tsar Aleksandr Nikolaevich in 1881.

Vechnaya pamyat, rab bozhii Aleksandr.

BMD

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Visions of Divinity. Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (music by Paul Hillier)

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Now… for something entirely different, as John Cleese would say! The Russian religious art of Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin is matched with… a pre-Second Great Awakening American hymn! Unlike the vacuous and vapid music currently in use amongst Evangelical Protestants, there was a vigorous church music tradition growing in America prior to 1800. It was destroyed by the Second Great Awakening, which was, in actuality, a Second Reformation founding an entirely new non-Christian faith (I would say it is closer to Gnosticism than anything else). Music and texts quite similar to our own in Russia were replaced by treacly sentimentality and empty emotion expressing the non-credo of this new faith. I lament for a lost tradition (it exists today only in isolated pockets in the rural South, were it is known as “Sacred Harp” or “Shaped-note” singing). Deacon Andrei Kuraev spoke truly when he said that “Orthodoxy is fine music made in the conservatoire, whilst (Evangelical) Protestantism is low music made in the honky-tonk bars”. Amen!

BMD

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