BAM 2056
Russian Sacred Music

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The Moscow Synodal Choir "LIVE"

The Moscow Synodal Choir with Alexei Puzakov conducting and Evgeney Dyatlov reciting of Gospel
Olga Ushakova (Soprano), Olga Nadezjdina (Alto), Viacheslav Zikov Tenor), Rodionov Vasenkin (Bass)

The Synodal Choir, one of the oldest professional choirs in Russia, was founded in Moscow in 1721. The members of the Synodal Choir were mainly from the Patriarchal Choir of singing deacons, which emerged in the 16th century. Initially the Patriarchal choir singers included only male clergy. Until the middle of the 17th century, the singing was monophonic, but later the choir began to perform polyphonic songs with children's voices becoming included (sopranos and altos).

After the abolition of the patriarchate in 1700, the choir became known as a "cathedral" one and was attached to the Dormition Cathedral of the Kremlin. Following the establishment of the Holy Synod in 1721, it was transferred to its department, re-dubbed "Synodal". During the 17th and 18th centuries, patriarchal singers, and later the Synodal Choir were in parallel and competed in level and mastery of performance with court singing deacons, renamed the Court Chapel under Peter I and transferred to St. Petersburg.

Choristers from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the Church of the Exaltation of the cross, the Church of St. George, St. Nicholas Nunnery, Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church of the Archangel Gabriel and others also take part in the joint choir of the Kaliningrad diocese.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the choir repertoire had expanded to include secular music and variations of Russian folk songs. Many Moscow composers wrote specifically for the Synodal Choir. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was actively engaged in the choir's activities in his day. In 1917 after the restoration of the patriarchate in Russia, the choir had preserved its name which by then had become historical. At the Easter of 1919, the Kremlin cathedrals were closed, the Synodal College was dissolved, and the choir ceased to exist.

The present-day Moscow Synodal Choir, began its revival in the spring of 2009, with the appointment of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the rector of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Church. The Synodal Choir is being revived on the basis of the choir of the joy of All Who Sorrow Church on Bolshaya Ordynka Street in Moscow, where since 1948 the traditions of Moscow church school of singing was preserved under the direction of the choir director Nikolai Matveyev.

A number of recordings of Russian religious music were produced and published over the course of several years, under N. Matveyev's supervision. Alexei Puzakov became one of the directors of the All Who Sorrow Church. After the death of N. Matveyev in 1993, many of the traditions laid down by him were discontinued; the choir music library was lost and the choir was greatly discontinued; becoming a chamber singing ensemble.

In recent years, taking over the duties as choir director in the revived Sorrow church choir, Alexei Puzakov has been able to combine the creative efforts the of 80 singers. In addition to participating in ceremonial liturgies, the Moscow Synodal Choir gives concerts in Moscow, Russia and abroad. The Choir collaborates with the Russian National Orchestra and the Tchaikovsky Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra, takes part in the Easter Festival program, and participates in important international church projects. The head of the Moscow Synodal Choir is Alexei Puzakov, Honored Artist of Russia, and the Choirmaster Olga Ushakova, Associate Professor of Choral Conducting and winner of international competitions.

Organ version of St. Matthew Passion
Transcription for Organ by Tatiana Scherba
Hilarion, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, The Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of Moscow Patriarchate.

The idea of an arrangement of St Matthew Passion for choir and solo organ belongs to the author of the work, the Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolams. In January 2010, the reverend Hilarion posed the question of whether such an adaptation is possible to create without causing the Passion to loose its defining characteristics. The arrangement took almost 9 months to complete. The main objective was, on the one hand, to retain the specific features of the author's intent in each of the parts and the whole, while on the other hand, to give what had originally been a string orchestra piece a set of features fitting in with the sound and flow of organ music.

Choir of Kaliningrad Diocese leader Alexey Rodionov, Tatiana Scherba, Organ


Alexei Puzakov Ė distinguished Artist of Russia, creative director and conductor of the Moscow Synodal Choir. An heir to the traditions of the Russian school of religious music, he has endeavoured to preserve and perpetuate these traditions. A prominent feature of the Russian school is its aspiration to combine sublime artistic skill with a pious attitude towards words and the manner in which words are delivered through music. The sound of the choir is characterized by a high level of vocal mastery and a striving towards a perfect ensemble, as well as performing clear and convincing renditions.

Headed by Alexei Puzakov, the choir has had several concerts at the Easter Festival (creative director: Valeri Gergiev), as well as the Mozartiana and Moscow Autumn Festivals. Puzakov was the a guest conductor with the Norwegian Cathedral Choir during the 12th General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches, and with the State Academic Choir Latvija during the International Music Festival. In April 2005 he took part in The Path of Remembrance, a memorial concert for the World War II fallen at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Besides the Tretyakov Gallery Choir, participants include the Russian National Orchestra (creative director: Mikhail Pletnev). Alexei Puzakov conducted the choir and the orchestra.

For several years, Alexei Puzakov was the scriptwriter, musical director, and stage director of the annual award ceremony of the International Fund for the Unity of Orthodox Nations at the Church Assembly Hall of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The Russian Orthodox Church has decorated him with the Order of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh and the Order of Saint Innocent of Moscow.

Tatiana Scherba Belarus-Austria, graduated with distinction from the Belarusian Lyceum of the Belarusian Academy of Music specializing in Theory of Music, the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory and post graduate study specializing in musicology (Prof. Yu.N. Holopov) and "Organ" (Prof. S.L. Dizhur, N.N. Gureeva), the Higher School of Music in Freiburg, Germany, specializing in organ music (Prof. K. Shnorr) and the University of Music and Fine Arts in Vienna in organ concert performance (Prof. M. Hazelboek. Ms. Scherba is a laureate of international competitions and a winner of several scholarships in Germany, Switzerland and Japan. Since 1995 she has been active as concert organist. Since 2007 she is Regent of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Vienna. At the request of Bishop Hilarion in 2010 she made the organ transcription of "St. Matthew Passion".

The Moscow Synodal Choir "LIVE"
Olga Ushakova (Soprano), Olga Nadezjdina (Alto), Viacheslav Zikov (Tenor), Rodionov Vasenkin (Bass)
Tatiana Scherba, Organ

Performing St. Matthews – Passion by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev)














"Come let us sing a holy lament to Christ" The Moscow Synodal Choir
"Judas ran to the lawless tribes" The Moscow Synodal Choir,
Viacheslav Zikov Tenor
"One of you shall betray me" The Moscow Synodal Choir
"The Master's hospitality" The Moscow Synodal Choir
Fugue, The Moscow Synodal Choir,
Tatiana Scherba, Organ
Air "I see Thy bridal chamber adorned, O my Saviour…" The Moscow Synodal Choir
, Olga Nadezjdina Alto
The Beatitudes "In Thy kingdom remember us, O Lord…", The Moscow Synodal Choir
"Glory to Thy passion, O Lord…" The Moscow Synodal Choir
Air "O God, be merciful to me and save me" The Moscow Synodal Choir,
Rodionov Vasenkin Bass
"We venerate Thy Cross, O Master…" The Moscow Synodal Choir
"Glory to thy passion, O Lord…" The Moscow Synodal Choir
"We hymn Thee, we bless Thee…" The Moscow Synodal Choir
Air "The Holy Virgin's lament" The Moscow Synodal Choir,
Olga Ushakova Soprano

"Arise, O God, judge Thou the earth…" The Moscow Synodal Choir, Viacheslav Zikov Tenor
Fugue "Arise, O God" The Moscow Synodal Choir,
Tatiana Scherba, Organ
Air "O Lord my God, I will sing to Thee…" The Moscow Synodal Choir, Viacheslav Zikov Tenor
"Thou didst decend into hell, O Christ God..." The Moscow Synodal Choir
Fugue "Thy death, O Lord, we proclaim…" The Moscow Synodal Choir
                                                                                                                                                                      Total time

01:33 04:05



download digital quality MPEG3 sound sample
Free sample - track no. 4 Glory to thy passion, O Lord...

"Live" recording in the Koeningsberg Cathedral, Kaliningrad 6th September 2013
The opening ceremony to the 8th Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition
held in Kaliningrad, Russia 6th to 12 September 2013
Mastered in Apple Lossless MPEG-4 audio
BAM 2056 © & ℗ Bel Air Music - 11/2013 All Rights Reserved.


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