Music for Holy Week (II)

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev): The Passion According To St. Matthew (YT)

Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) has an amazing life story. Formerly a violin and piano student, a soldier, and a monk; he is now one of the world’s leading Orthodox theologians. He studied at Pembroke College, Oxford (PhD), which I think is drolly amusing, in that the women’s college formerly associated with Brown University was called Pembroke.

According to Wiki, Metropolitan Hilarion has authored more than 600 publications.

Oh… he also writes music!

As an indicator of Metropolitan Hilarion’s status outside the world of choral music, here’s a vignette from Wiki:

On 5 October 2008, Alfeyev took part in the ‘Bible marathon’ organized by the Italian state TV channel RAI-Uno. He read Chapter Two from the Book of Genesis, immediately following Pope Benedict XVI, who read Chapter One. Alfeyev was followed by 1,246 readers from various countries.

I am rather sure that that placement was NOT random.

I have no ear for Russian, but I am guessing that the Bible text is Russian, but the choral parts are Church Old Slavonic. There are some obvious Bach quotes in Hilarion’s work, which is fine. His integration of Baroque structure and ornament with Russian feeling is very fresh.

It’s admittedly a long YT; but, this is the season for reflection.

# # #