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But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”

Mark 16:4-6

Christ is Risen! (You say … )

This week’s playlist includes a number of brass arrangements of Easter music. The key work on the list is the concert overture tone poem by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908). Rimsky-Korsakov uses melodies and themes from the Russian Orthodox liturgy, the “Obikhod,” a collection of multi-voiced liturgical chants.

The Obikhod chants are based on specific melodic phrases or modes called the Octoechos. Dating to the Middle Age, the chants formed the tonal system of the oldest Russian church music. This collection forms the basis of all liturgical music in the Russian Orthodox Church.

In 1772, the Obikhod became the first music printed in Russia. In 1848 it became the mandatory liturgical music for all of the churches in Russia. This common version included both liturgical texts and psalm settings and was heavily revised and standardized by Rimsky-Korsakov.

The Overture references a number of biblical passages (and their corresponding chants), including Psalm 68 and Mark 16. The intention in this overture is not devotional – indeed, Rimsky-Korsakov was an atheist – but he attempted to capture the transition from the solemnity and mystery of the evening of Passion Saturday to the unbridled celebrations of Easter Sunday morning.

ST#161 – Easter 4

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Preview YouTube video An Easter Fanfare

An Easter Fanfare