One of the world’s leading authorities on Russian liturgical music, Vladimir Morosan, acted as program advisor and consultant for this concert. He gave a pre-concert talk before last weekend’s concerts, and also wrote notes for the program book, which point out that over time “Russian church singing was enriched by stylistic borrowings from the Polish Baroque, the Italian stile antico, Viennese classicism, and German Romanticism,” and that women were finally allowed to sing in Russian Orthodox Cathedrals at the beginning of the 1880s.
One of the highlights of the concert was certainly Chesnokov’s “Do Not Cast Me Off in My Old Age,” a deeply affecting plea by a frail, elderly man for God’s help at a time when he fears his enemies will take advantage of his vulnerability. Chesnokov composed the piece for a basso profondo solo voice with choir, and the soloist is required to sing some of the lowest notes ever written for the human voice. Amazingly, Conspirare had just the man for the job – Glenn Miller, Director of Music and Organist at Kirk in the Hills (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan). Mr. Miller hit each note with accuracy and the most sonorous expression one could imagine.