Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, Nikolai Andreyevich (b. 1844, Tikhvin; d. 1908, Lubensk Estate, near Luga, Pskov District)-began writing church music upon his appointment in 1883, together with Miliy Balakirev, to head the Imperial Court Chapel in St. Petersburg. Altogether he wrote forty choral works for the Russian Orthodox Church: fourteen titles were published in two series in 1884 and 1886, respectively; a setting of Te Deum laudamus appeared in 1893; and a collection of 25 more works was published posthumously in 1910 by Evstafy Azeyev. In his sacred choral works Rimsky-Korsakov made extensive use of authentic chant melodies as well as melodies he himself composed in the style of chant. The polyphonic treatment of the melodies is quite varied and innovative. Some melodies serve as motives for imitative counterpoint, while others are harmonized homorhythmically, using a thick choral texture replete with doublings. The harmony is often modal, preserving the archaic flavor of the chant. The choral sonorities range from a few solo voices to rich double choral writing.

Works recorded by Archangel Voices: