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World Premiere: “Missa byzantina” by Alexander Raskatov in Tallinn

The world premiere of Alexander Raskatov’s “Missa byzantina” for mixed choir and large orchestra will be presented at the opening concert of the “Mustonenfest” on 29 January 2016 at the Estonia Concert Hall in Tallinn. The performers will be the State Choir Latvija and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of the Estonian violinist and conductor Andres Mustonen.

An earlier version of the “Missa byzantina” was premiered in Istanbul on 13 June 2013 under the title “... Crying in the Wilderness ...”. The definitive version of the work will now be presented in Tallinn for the first time. Additional performances will follow on 16 March 2016 in Helsinki with the State Choir Latvija and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under Andres Mustonen and on 3 September 2016 in Riga with the State Choir Latvija and the Latvian National Orchestra, also conducted by Andres Mustonen.

Alexander Raskatov dedicates the performances of his “Missa byzantina” in Tallinn, Helsinki and Riga to the victims of the civil war in Syria.

Responding to the question as to why he selected texts by the author and religious teacher Ephraim the Syrian (306-373) for his “Missa byzantina”, the composer made the following comments: “Ephraim the Syrian was the most important Byzantine hymnograph. I wanted to emphasize the cultural connections between old Constantinople and contemporary Istanbul. Another reason: Hymns of Ephraim the Syrian are so humanistic and always touched me.”

You can read a longer contribution on this work in an interview with the composer Alexander Raskatov in the Sikorski Magazine 2/2016 which will be issued in the spring of 2016.

29 January 2016
Estonia Concert Hall, 7 PM
World premiere: Alexander Raskatov
“Missa byzantina” for mixed choir and large orchestra
State Choir Latvija
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Andres Mustonen (direction)


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