The Passage to Easter: A choral spiritual journey in the Russian Orthodox tradition

March 23 2014  3:00 pm


St. Xenia of Petersburg Russian Orthodox Cathedral

2 Colchester Square, Kanata, ON K2K 2W9


Choral 2

Well-known and much-loved Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov are only a few masters of Russian spiritual music. On Sunday,March 23rd, at 3 pm, music lovers will be treated to a choral program uncovering classical composers on-par with the greats when some of the top singers of Russian sacred music in eastern Canada will perform at St Xenia’s Cathedral in Kanata to interpret, for the first time in our region, the beautiful a cappella music of Easter spanning over 6 centuries.
These eagerly awaited and treasured hymns and prayers are sung only once a year during the seven-week period of
Great Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. Gathered here into one concert and presented chronologically in the
magnificently hand-painted Russian Orthodox Cathedral, they will be sung amid the warm ambiance of surrounding candlelight and rich iconography. The chants promise to give listeners the unique musical experience of a passage journeying toward and through Easter in the Russian Orthodox tradition.                                                                                                    
Two professional level choirs – The St. Xenia Cathedral Choir and the Slava Chamber Choir of Sherbrooke conducted by Cathedral conductor, Aleksandr Ignatow, have been brought together, augmented by seasoned Orthodox singers from our region. Amongst the 28 singers there are 6 choral conductors, soloists from Canada’s top University voice programs and 9 basses, three of whom are true basso profundos.
The concert program reflects 3 principal themes: Great Lent – seeking redemption, purification, and forgiveness;
Holy Week – the accompanying of Christ through the solemn events from the Passion to the Crucifixion; and finally,
the rejoicing and celebration of the Resurrection. This concert promises to truly convey the full spiritual message of Easter.
Spiritual works traverse from mediaeval chants to masterpieces by late 20th Century composers. Some of the featured arrangements include the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, My Soul Arise and The Lamp-Lighting Psalm by Bortniansky, Before Thy Cross by Goncharov, The Good Thief by Turenkov, Arise, O Christ by Turchaninov, and The Angel Cried by Makarov.
The choir will exhibit different vocal textures in the intimate setting of the Cathedral, specifically designed to accentuate a capella choral singing, and will showcase a repertoire of univox male voices as heard in Russian monasteries, including octavists, angelic univox female trios, as well as elaborate 8 part mixed voice compositions by St. Petersburg and Moscow school composers.
St. Xenia Cathedral, built in 1996 in the traditional cross-form with a silver cupola, has splendid life-size, hand-painted icons gracing its iconostasis. Because of its architectural beauty, acoustics and excellent choir, St.
Xenia was selected to host the ROCOR World Choral conference attended by conductors from Russia and 150 singers
from around the world.
The concert will be followed by a complimentary reception with the choristers, featuring light Lenten appetizers
and refreshments.


Tickets: $20

Purchase online:
Only a limited number of tickets will be available at the door
For information: 613-422-2930
We hope that you will join us in experiencing this uplifting choral spiritual journey through Great Lent and Passion Week, culminating in the joyous celebration of Pascha – the Resurrection of our Lord – the Feast of Feasts.




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