The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, op. 31

The Russian State Symphony Cappella directed by Valerij Poljanskij
Sergej RachmaninovCoop. Edit. Nuovo Mondo - distr. Universal Music

This magnificent piece by Rachmaninov, the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, strikes us every time we listen to it with its unusual beauty that is only rarely comparable to other projections or creations by man.
This beautiful music a temple of notes, harmonies, chords that makes us more serene and vibrant – contains two extremes, which I want to recall here.
The first: one doesn’t notice it, but for eight minutes the music sings Gospodi pomiluj, for eight minutes it repeats Gospodi pomiluj: “Lord, have mercy!” Mystery, have mercy on me! Mystery, because Mystery is the Lord. Mystery is the origin of time and its meaning, because without meaning there is no time: there is nothingness or suffocation. (...)
There is a second aspect to Rachmaninov’s song, like a recurring theme. It is an Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, uttered without forcing the voice, spoken almost without daring to speak it. Within our forgetfulness and our betrayal, there is a point when Christ’s victory becomes as evident as the stars in the sky, and this is a point where we are refreshed: “Lord, I thank you. Alleluia. Quietly, in an undertone, however. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

(Excerpt from the introduction by Luigi Giussani to the booklet enclosed in the CD)