Weekend MusicWatch: Russian

Cappella Romana sings Rachmaninoff -- again -- this weekend.

Cappella Romana sings Rachmaninoff again this weekend in Portland and Seattle.

The classical music season hasn’t quite cranked up to speed yet, but there’s a couple of strong shows onstage this weekend.

The major concert of the new year so far features the great choir Cappella Romana returning to the scene — and composer — of one of last year’s finest concerts. That one featured Sergei Rachmaninoff’s famous All Night Vigil, and this time, they’re singing much less frequently performed sacred masterpiece by the same composer, 1910’s “Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.” Although it uses the form of Russian Orthodox mass, this music (hidden behind the old Iron Curtain for years) embraces influences from chant to Tchaikovsky to late Romantic harmony, all yoked together by the composer’s orchestral mastery (applied to voices here) and lyricism. They’ll sing it at Portland’s St. Mary’s Cathedral on Friday and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral on Sunday, with a Seattle performance in between.

Also this weekend, popular pianist Andre Watts joins the Oregon Symphony in Beethoven’s mighty “Emperor” piano concerto #5. Rising young German conductor Christoph Konig also leads the OSO in Schumann’s (appropriately for this weekend’s forecast) sunny, tuneful Symphony #1 and Paul Hindemith’s colorful, concise Concerto for Orchestra.


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