An Orthodox Christmas Celebration

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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Many New Yorkers in the Orthodox Christian tradition haven’t actually celebrated their Christmas yet. On this edition of The Mix we celebrate music from the Orthodox Christmas tradition.

Today, we hear the sonorous, fully-textured sounds of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff; from the dream-like compositions of the Finnish composer Einojuhari Rautavaara to the crystal clarity of John Tavener’s music.

Right here in New York City, the Russian Chamber Chorus, led by Nikolai Kachanov, has been around since 1985. They have become America’s preeminent Russian vocal ensemble recording a number of great albums demonstrating their versatility. They are committed to preserving and exploring Russian music. We play movements from their acclaimed recording of Tchaikovsky’s Vespers, which was recorded in November of 1996 at the Church of the Good Shepherd right here in NYC.

Contemporary Finnish composer Einojuhari Rautavaara takes a holistic approach to composing choral music. His choral works reflect a broadminded approach to composition drawing heavily from the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran traditions. We play his lush setting of the Magnificat sung by the Finnish Radio Choir under the direction of Timo Nuoranne.

Others on the program are Gretchaninov's We praise the mother of God with Andrej Koshewnikow leading the Moscow State Academic Choir, Moscow State Choir and Musica Sacra, alongside Bortniansky’s Te Deum, We praise thee o God and Bogoroditse Devo, Rejoice O Ye Virgin from Rachmaninov’s Vespers sung by the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola.


Russian Chamber Chorus-- Tchaikovsky (TBD)


Rautavaara/ Choral Works/Finnish Radio Choir/Timo Nuoranne



Gretchaninov / Musica Sacra-De Maria Virgine/Moscow State Academic Choir, Moscow State Choir, Musica Sacra, Andrej Koshewnikow

We praise the mother of God


Bortniansky/ Musica Sacra-De Maria Virgine/Moscow State Academic Choir, Moscow State Choir, Musica Sacra, Andrej Koshewnikow

Te Deum


Rachmaninov/All Night Vigil/Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola, Kent Tritle

Bogoroditse Devo


Tavener/Ikon of Light/The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

The Lamb

Hymn to the Mother of God

Today The Virgin

Comments [4]

Walter Tomaszewski from Washington State

I know that given the time-constraints on busy article writers, it's not possible to do proper research on all topics pertaining to Multiculturalism because of all of the cultures in this country, so I'll volunteer to do it.

I'm an Orthodox Christian. I belong to the Orthodox Church of America (OCA). We use the 'Revised Julian' or 'New Calendar' ('Gregorian' for the most part). On 25th December, we celebrate the 'Feast of the Nativity', commemorating Christ's Birth. We don't celebrate 'Christmas' ("Christ's Mass) except as secular holiday. On 6th January, today, we celebrate 'Theophany' (Epiphany', in the West) as the revealing of Christ to the World.

The Orthodox who use the 'Old Calendar' (The original 'Julian') celebrate The Feast of the Nativity on 7th January and Theophany 19th January.

Jan. 06 2014 12:13 PM
Mike from Arlington Heights, IL

Kent - it would be nice to hear hymns that are specific to the Orthodox feast of Nativity, and not hymns that are sung every Satuday evening. Also, it would be nice to hear more recordings in English. They do exist.

Jan. 11 2013 10:56 AM
Dolores from New York City

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And sensitive to additional sub-cultures in New York City who also comprise "the public." In addition, Christmas does not end on December 25th for Latino cultures. January 6th (Epiphany) is in Hispanic countries the third major observance of the Christmas season. I think that wqxr is not sensitive enough to the pluralism that surrounds us.

Jan. 08 2013 08:26 AM
Gary Ekman from Manhattan NYC

There's something about those sonorous bass soloists that evokes the golden onion domes, the cold and the snow. This was a real education.

Jan. 06 2013 09:03 AM

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