Acclaimed Russian monastery quartet at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church June 16

Online Staff Report

The internationally renown Konevets Quartet, a monastery choir that hails from the St. Petersburg Music Conservatory in Russia, will perform a concert at 7 p.m., Monday, June 16, at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, 1802 Pershing Ave., in Rockford.

The heart of the quartet’s repertoire is sacred Russian Orthodox music, ancient music written for Russian monasteries. They follow the style of early Russian Orthodox religious music, singing in unison and arrangements written for two to three voices. Their music also includes chants and hymns set to more modern works by 20th-century composers, including Stravinsky, Chesnokov and Grechaninov.

In addition to traditional Russian church music, the program features Russian and Ukrainian folks songs, Russian classical selections, and military songs and marches from the days of the Russian Imperial Army, songs that were forbidden during the reign of communism in the Soviet Union. The quartet will also sing in contemporary four-voice arrangements, many of them written by members of the quartet, and draw on traditional Russian poems arranged for male voice choirs by Russian classical composers.

We’re so blessed to have such a choir of this magnitude in Rockford,” said Father Jonathan Bannon, church pastor. “The concert will offer a fascinating, musically varied program with a chance to learn more about the rich tradition of Russian choral music.”

The Konevets Quartet was founded in 1992 by graduates of the St. Petersburg Music Conservatory-Glinka Choral Academy, who sang in the Konevets Holy Trinity Choir of the 600-year-old Konevets Monastery northeast of St. Petersburg.

The group has merited world-wide recognition with high acclaim from the international music press. They have sung in all the great cathedrals of Russia and participated in prestigious international music festivals throughout Europe, the United States and most recently Japan. The Rockford concert is a Midwest stop on their current 17-city tour of the United States.

The musical stylings of the quartet is not just a group of individual soloists,” Father Bannon added, “but is in essence a chamber choir dedicated to creating a perfect harmonious ensemble sound.”

Entry fee to the concert is a goodwill offering. Part of the event proceeds will aid the continuing restoration of the Konevets Monastery, which suffered catastrophic damage during the Soviet era.

Posted June 11, 2014

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