Interview: A new take on Rachmaninoff’s ‘All-Night Vigil’

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9min 12sec
Photo: Charles Bruffy of Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale
Charles Bruffy, the artistic director of the Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Moscow premiere of one of Rachmaninoff’s greatest masterpieces the "All Night Vigil."

To honor the occasion, Charles Bruffy recorded and released the work with the two Grammy-winning chorales for which he is music director: the Phoenix Chorale and the Kansas City Chorale.

Rachmaninoff's piece sets the Russian orthodox liturgy to music -- something composers like Gretchaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky also did.

But Rachmaninoff's version has a deeper impact, a greater sense of history and occasionally more complexity, Bruffy said.

"There are times in this piece that there are 11 different parts going on , which is a very orchestral kind of approach -- it's more than soprano, alto, tenor, bass," he said.

Click the audio above to hear Bruffy talk about challenge of recording a beloved piece on its 100th anniversary, his approach to capturing a great performance in the studio and why the piece means so much to him.