On October 14, a concert dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Riga Orthodox Chamber Choir “Blagovest” will take place in the Grand Guild within the framework of the Riga A Cappella Festival. The program includes the brightest and audience’s most loved works from the "Blagovest" repertoire accumulated over 30 years.
The concert will feature the pearls of the Russian sacred music classics: baroque in the choral concert by Dmitry Bortnyansky, compositions by the brightest representatives of romanticism Sergei Rachmaninov and Pavel Chesnokov, contemporary classics by Georgs Pelecis and Vladimir Martynov. There will be compositions that have been sung from the very beginning, as well as new acquisitions in the choir's repertoire.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Riga Orthodox Chamber Choir “Blagovest” under the direction of its founder and artistic director Aleksandrs Brandavs has planned several anniversary concerts of the choir. Despite the well-known difficulties and limitations of 2020, choir “Blagovest” has prepared anniversary concert programs, as well as took 1st place in the choral competition “Hajnowka’s Orthodox Church Music Days” in September in Hajnowka, Poland, participating by means of the video broadcast.
One could write volumes of books about the choir's excellence, successes and adventures, which are summarized in a few paragraphs in the official choir biography. Everyone will have their own memories of what is actually contained in these words. But the main thing for us is that during these years "Blagovest" has become a second family for its members and always expected friend for its audience.
Today, under the leadership of our Maestro Aleksandrs Brandavs, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Blagovest”. Looking forward to meeting you soon, we sincerely congratulate our Maestro, “Blagovest” singers, conductors, choirmasters, soloists, partners, friends, supporters and audience of all times!
On Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 16.00 the Concert of Christmas Chants by “Blagovest” will take place at the Cultural Center of Madona.
The concert program will feature compositions by Georgs Pelēcis, Nikolai Golovanov, Alexander Arkhangelsky, Alexander Grechaninov, Alfred Schnittke, Palestrina, Ēriks Ešenvalds and others. The concert takes place within the framework of the International Riga A Cappella Festival, which from 17 to 21 October, already for the sixth year, offers high quality concerts of bright and internationally acclaimed performers of vocal music, promoting a cappella singing in Latvia. The choir “Blagovest” with its programs of sacred music has become regular participant of the Riga A Cappella Festival.
Tickets for the concert are available at the sales points of “Biļešu serviss” /https://www.bilesuserviss.lv/lat/biletes/festivals/visi/miera-lugsana-265265/ and at the box office of Riga Cathedral.
With its annual concerts of the Great Lent (previously in the Concert Hall “Ave Sol” and this year in Riga Cathedral), one of the best performers of the sacred music - the Riga Orthodox Chamber Choir "BLAGOVEST" under the direction of Aleksandrs Brandavs is continuing the tradition of public performances of the Great Lent chants, established in the 19th century in St. Petersburg by the great Russian composer Alexey Lvov, giving the opportunity to the secular audience to hear these chants filled with deep emotions and blessed solemnity.
The program of the Great Lent concert, as every year, will commence with Artemy Vedel's “Pokayaniya otverzi mi dveri” (Open to Me the Doors of Repentance), a composition that is sung only during the Great Lent and that expresses the essence of all human emotions during the Great Lent. The audience will have the opportunity to hear again movements of the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom of Sergey Rachmaninov and - performed by "BLAGOVEST" for the first time - an Ode from the Arvo Pärt's "Kanon Pokayanen" (Canon of Repentance). The concert program will also feature compositions, both traditionally included in the choir’s repertoire and newly discovered, by Alexander Arkhangelsky, Alexander Grechaninov, Pavel Chesnokov, Nikolai Golovanov, Georgy Sviridov.
Riga Orthodox Chamber Choir "BLAGOVEST" traditionally invites to a concert of Christmas chants on Sunday, January 7, 2018 at 18:00 at the St. Peter's Church in Riga.
Led by the artistic director and conductor Aleksandrs Brandavs, the choir has prepared a new, not yet presented program of Russian sacred music: Christmas chants and concerts for the choir and soloists by Stepan Degtyarev, Nikolai Golovanov, Pavel Chesnokov and other composers. Some festive surprises will also be performed.
The children's choir of the Riga Pupil’s Palace (Rīgas Skolēnu pils) "Accolada" will take part in the concert as a guest, under the direction of conductor Oksana Cherkasova.
The choir will present a diverse program, reflecting the rich creative experience of “Blagovest” for over 25 years, with the emotional fulfillment inherent to the choir and its maestro. Along with orthodox chants and compositions of beloved composers: Alexander Arkhangelsky, Alexander Grechaninov, Sergey Rachmaninov, Alfred Schnittke, and others, traditionally included in the choir's repertoire, “Blagovest” will also sing compositions of Da Palestrina, William Albright and Lucija Garuta, as well as the Psalm No.150, written by Georgs Pelēcis for the choir “Blagovest”, in the new arrangement by the author.
The concert is organized with the support of the State Culture Capital Foundation and the Education, Culture and Sports Department of Riga City Council, in the frame of the 5th International Riga A Capella Festival.
After the concert, the choir will travel long distance to represent Latvia in the Grand Prix of Nations within the 4th Asia Pacific Choir Games in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Double Victory of the choir BLAGOVEST in the Grand Prix of Nations Riga 2017 and the 3rd European Choir Games
With remarkable success and a double victory, the Riga Orthodox Chamber Choir BLAGOVEST has concluded participation in the Grand Prix of Nations 2017 and the 3rd European Choir Games, gaining the gold medals and titles of the Winner of the Grand Prix of Nations and the Champion of the European Choral Games in the competition category "Musica Sacra a cappella".
The choir, with its diverse, high-quality and emotionally heartfelt singing, has conquered both the hearts of the audience and the highest scores and recognition of the jury; and with great emotion BLAGOVEST sung the Latvian national anthem twice from the stage of the awards ceremony.
With these great victories and feeling of a well-accomplished work, the choir closes the season. During the next season, the Riga Orthodox Chamber Choir BLAGOVEST will participate in the Riga A Cappella Festival that traditionally takes place in Riga in October, as well as will represent Latvia in the Grand Prix of Nations Colombo 2017, taking place in the frame of the 4th Asia Pacific Choir Games in Sri Lanka on October 21-28, 2017.
As such, the tradition of orthodox Lenten chants emerged in the 19th century, and thus far it holds a special place in the field of sacred music. The beginning of this amazing tradition was launched by Aleksey F. Lvov who was a violinist, composer, conductor and director of the Palace chapel, in Saint-Petersburg. The chants of the Great Lent resonate with the hearts of even secular listeners. And there is nothing surprising, since the comprehensive beauty of orthodox sacred music becomes especially apparent exactly in the context of the Lent, when music compositions are aimed at provoking reflections on selflessness and suffering, on love and betrayal, on the great gifts of absolution and human life…
After the Lent concert, BLAGOVEST, at the invitation of the organizers, is going to Poland to the annual international festival Hajnówka’s Church Music Days. In this music event, BLAGOVEST will take part for the 5th time already. Within the Hajnówka’s Church Music Days in 2016, BLAGOVEST got awarded twice: with the diploma to the Choir for the 1st place in the Academic Choirs category, as well as with the personal award to the best conductor.
Photo report from the presentation can be viewed here.
Being leaded for 25 years by its founder and permanent artistic director Alexander Brandavs, the choir received recognition in various international festivals and music competitions, released 7 albums and gathered significant experience while touring to many countries with program of Russian sacred music. The touring geography of BLAGOVEST includes Belgium, France, Italy, USA, Denmark, Russia, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Belarus, Great Britain and Greece. BLAGOVEST continues to broaden its repertoire and familiarize the listeners with previously unknown pieces of music. For 2017, BLAGOVEST scheduled participation in a number of events in the world of sacred music.
The June tour for double performance in the E.F.Svetlanov Kaliningrad Regional Philharmonic and Yantarny (an urban locality in Kaliningrad Oblast) actually finalized for BLAGOVEST the eventful season 2015-2016. BLAGOVEST departed to Kaliningrad at the invitation of the Philharmonic management and represented there the program “The Soul Sings of the Heaven”.
On June the 8th, under the arches of the Kaliningrad Regional Philharmonic, the following compositions were performed by BLAGOVEST: “The Dolesome Canticles” by genius Alfred Shnitke, “Three Sacred Hymns” by Slovenian composer and conduction Ambrož Čopi, “Alleluia Super-Round” by William Albright and other pieces of music.
A day earlier, BLAGOVEST represented this program in the museum “Amber Castle” of the Yantarny.
In May 2016, BLAGOVEST attended the 35th International Festival “Hajnowka’s Orthodox Church Music Days”, which took place in Poland. The Festival happens every year since 1982 and receives various participants – professional, parochial and amateur mixed, male, and female choirs (including juniors). Among other choirs from Poland, Russia, Belarus, Georgia, Romania and Ukraine, BLAGOVEST represented its individual program, which was comprised of the pieces of music by G.Pelecis, A.Shnitke, A.Grechaninoff and other composers. BLAGOVEST took part in this Festival not for the first time: the professional experience of BLAGOVEST includes Hajnówka of 1994, 1998 and 2004.
BLAGOVEST returned home from Poland with two awards: the diploma to the choir for the 1stplace in the category “Academic choirs”, as well as the personal award to BLAGOVEST’s founder and all-time director Aleksandrs Brandavs as the best conductor! These two awards took their stand in the range of other BLAGOVEST’s achievements.
The 36th International Festival “Hajnowka’s Orthodox Church Music Days” will take place in Poland during May 8-13, 2017.
Blagovest welcomes everyone to attend our traditional Easter concert on March 20, 15:00 in Riga - Ave Sol concert hall.
Concert program: Russian sacred music masterpieces of A. Vedel, A. Lvov, P. Chesnokov, A. Shnittke and other composers. Solists: Mara Pilanta, Vsevolod Melnikov, Yuriy Tyiyinnikov. Conductor: Aleksandr Brandavs. Entry ticket - 3.00€. Tickets can be bought 1 hour prior to the concert.
About the choir
Riga Orthodox Chamber Choir BLAGOVEST from Latvia was founded in 1990 with an aim to popularize forgotten treasures of Russian sacred music, which makes the most part of the choir's repertoire.
The choir has wide range of interests: from monophonic neumatic chants, called znamenniy raspev, based on Byzantine church music up to contemporary composers’ quests of spirituality. Various secular compositions of outstanding Russian, Latvian, and Western composers are included in the choir's repertoire as well. Read more