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Kiryushina Maria

"Great Vespers" by B. М. Ledkovsky in the singing tradition of the Orthodox Church in America


Kiryushina Maria (2022) ""Great Vespers" by B. M. Ledkovsky in the singing tradition of the Orthodox Church in America ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia V : Voprosi istorii i teorii hristianskogo iskusstva, 2022, vol. 46, pp. 106-134 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturV202246.106-134

Abstract

The article deals with a collection of hymns by the famous church composer and regent B. M. Ledkovsky, a representative of the Russian musical diaspora, whose creative path during the last almost twenty-five years of his life was connected with the United States of America. The verbal basis of the collection was made up of the liturgical texts of the Great Vespers service translated from Church Slavonic into English. Without making a detailed excursion into the historical past of America and without having the intention to create a picture of the formation and establishment of Orthodoxy on American soil (this topic, multi-level and multi-valued, is worthy, in our opinion, of more than one special study), the author touches only on individual events and facts of this history. Referring to the modern church-singing practice, which is accepted today in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR) only partially, and focusing mainly on some features of the services of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the author considers "Great Vespers" as a collection that generally corresponds to one of the rites of the Russian Orthodox Church, along with the All – Night Vigil written by B. M. Ledkovsky. The English-language verbal basis used in “Great Vespers” is seen as specific to the liturgical work of B. M. Ledkovsky, who always belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church – both in Russia and abroad after the revolution, but at the same time very consonant with the liturgical practice of the OCA, which gradually switched to the national, English language. Published in 1976 St. Vladimir's Seminary Press (SVS Press), one of the leading theological educational institutions of the Orthodox Church in America, where B. M. Ledkovsky worked as a teacher of church music for a number of years, "Great Vespers", composed by the composer on the order of the Seminary, was published after his death. The final revision and preparation of the collection for publication was made by D. Drillock, a student and junior colleague of B. M. Ledkovsky, E. and J. Erikson, R. Evich. They also, as indicated in the publication, carried out an English-language adaptation of the liturgical texts. It is characteristic that the musical component of most of the Great Vespers chants is the material of Obikhod Ledkovsky (All-Night Vigil), published in 1959 in Jordanville in the printing house of St. Job of Pochaevsky Holy Trinity Monastery. Individual hymns of this collection (litanies, Sunday troparia, and others) were later included in the editions of St. Vladimir Seminary in 1980 and 1982 in English ("Holy Week"; "Divine Liturgy", “The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts”). The proposed article examines the composition of the collection, with its features, based on the material of several hymns, shows the confirming statements of the composer and the approaches to harmonization that are fundamentally important for him, which he uses here and in other works. Some attention is also paid to the analysis of musical and linguistic parameters of harmonizations, the issues of vocalization of the chanted liturgical text.

Keywords

Great Vespers, David Drillock, Orthodox worship in America, traditional chants, Orthodox Church in America, Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, St. Vladimir Seminary, Isabel Hapgood, English-language liturgical singing tradition, liturgical books in English

References

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Information about the author

Kiryushina Maria


Student status: Graduate student;
Place of study: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for Humanities; 6 Likhov pereulok, Moscow 127051, Russian Federation;
Email: m_ist@mail.ru.