Church concerts by St Petersburg choir

The Hermitage Ensemble
The Hermitage Ensemble

Two concerts are being given in the area by Russian Orthodox male voice choir, The Hermitage Ensemble. The first is at All Saints Church in Thornham on Thursday, March 23, and the following night the choir will be at Walpole St Peter Church.

The Hermitage Ensemble Choir from St Petersburg is a group of five male soloists who sing totally unaccompanied (Russian Orthodox Church music never was accompanied by instruments).

As individuals, they are at home in the opera houses and concert halls of St Petersburg, but they see it as their goal to maintain the Russian traditions of church and folk music and to bring that sound to the West.

Visitors to Russia will surely remember the impressive singing at various Russian Orthodox Churches. The most important of these is St Sergius Monastery, near Moscow, which is the centre of the Russian Orthodox Church.

It is not well known that the church in Russia was almost entirely suppressed during the communist period and the Orthodox music was not sung, except privately.

Reviving the tradition when the regime relaxed its control over culture must have needed much love and hard work.

But the rites of the church and the churches themselves now seem to be flourishing again in modern Russia.

The Thornham concert on Thursday is from 6.30pm and tickets are £15 each, children £10; call Sue Burland on 01485 512155 or Jane Long on 01485 512101 to book or for further information.

Walpole St Peter’s concert on Friday, March 24, starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £15; call Michael Anstey on 01553 849998 to book or for more details. Refreshments will be available.