Rachmaninov's monumental Vespers is one of the most beautiful, impressive a cappella choral works ever composed and is based on ancient Russian Orthodox melodies.
Its dramatic setting, symphonic scale and great virtuosity ensured that the work did not so much find its way into Russian Orthodox liturgy, but became very popular on concert stages worldwide. The name Vespers is actually incorrect. Rachmaninov called his work Vsénoshchnoye bdéniye , or 'Wake for all Night'. Only the first six movements of the 15-volume work belong to the Vespers (evening prayers). Parts 7 to 14 are Metts (night prayers) and part 15 is a Priem (morning prayer). In concert form, no night passes, although it feels like this masterpiece by Rachmaninov does manage to stop time...