A Visit from the State Choir of Russia
December 22nd, 2011
By Meghan Burns '13
This October the Chorus, in conjunction with the Glee Club, was extremely lucky to host the State Symphony Capella of Russia in concert in Sage Chapel. The resonant choir filled Sage Chapel with exquisite sound, tuning, and execution with excerpts from Rachmaninoff's Vespers, a few modern compositions, and fun, traditional Russian folk songs. Singing to a sizable crowd on a Thursday night, the choir was stunningly precise under the direction of Valery Polyansky; a few strong soloists shone, but the group as a whole blended well and the audience was uniformly brought to their feet by the end of the performance.
The following morning, the Chorus and Glee Club enjoyed a workshop with Director Polyansky in which we sang “Bogoroditsye Devo” and “Slava V Vyshnikh Bogu” and listened to his comments. He commended our sensitivity and aided us with our pronunciation, as well as adding personal dynamic markings that brought a new intensity to both pieces. With the help of a translator, Director Polyansky told us about his life as a conductor and praised the art of song and performance, reminding us that what we do every day is a beautiful gift.
Both the workshop and the concert were well received by Chorus members; many discussed the inspiring words of Polyansky and credited his talk with refreshing their view on our music. “I heard an essence of our Chorus in the Russian Choir,” explained Olivia Gustafson, ‘14, “and knew we could strive to be as good as they are.”
Overall the two-day visit from the State Symphony Capella proved a musically enriching and rewarding experience for all involved.