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Finnish Premiere: Raskatov’s “Missa byzantina” in Helsinki

Alexander Raskatov’s “Missa byzantina” for mixed choir and large orchestra was recently given its world premiere at the opening concert of the “Mustonenfest” on 29 January 2016 in Tallinn. The performers were the State Choir Latvija and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andres Mustonen.

The Finnish premiere will now be presented on 16 March 2016 at the Musiikkitalo in Helsinki with the State Choir Latvija and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under Andres Mustonen.

This autumn, the State Choir Latvija and the Latvian National Orchestra, again under the direction of Andres Mustonen, will perform the Latvian premiere of this choral-symphonic work on 3 September 2016 in Riga.

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 was presented in Tallinn for the first time. 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.”

16 March 2016
Musiikkitalo, Concert Hall, 7 PM
Finnish premiere: Alexander Raskatov
“Missa byzantina” for mixed choir and orchestra
State Choir Latvija
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Andres Mustonen (direction)


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