March 26th 2012
Translated from Russian by Eugenia Toft
On March 18, 2012 the latest concert by Russkaya Cappella took place in Kelvingrove Art Gallery. They were joined on this occasion by the Children’s Singing Studio from the Glasgow Russian School, who were performing in public for the first time. The Singing Studio, consisting of pupils from the Glasgow Russian School, was created in January of this year, as a joint pilot project of Russkaya Cappella and School.
Singing along with the adults, and without the accompaniment of musical instruments, the children performed: “Come you, the Nightingale” by Glinka, and the Russian folk songs “Dryoma” (arranged by Lyadov) and “The fly by our gates”. These songs, “Come you, the Nightingale” in particular, are far from being easy.
There were many words of praise for the children after the concert, the listeners mainly complimenting the children on the cohesion of their singing, their dedication and sincerity. The children looked like real artistes, and their singing was flawless, focused and expressive, despite the hundreds of eyes watching them.
A proper respect should be given to Glasgow Russian School, where lots of attention is paid to the organization of holidays and staging various performances; the children got used to being on the stage and they like the attention of an audience. But there is a huge difference between performing for Mums and Dads and singing in a serious adult public concert, to demonstrate their own art to unknown listeners.
Another innovation of this Russkaya Cappella concert was the performance of Russian music accompanied on the organ by Malcolm Sim. This item was included in the concert programme first and foremost because one of the best Glasgow organs is located in Kelvingrove Art Gallery. This miraculous instrument, capable of replacing a large orchestra, accompanied “Kol slaven” by Dmitry Bortnyansky and the chorus from the incidental music to the play “The Snowmaiden” by Alexander Gretchaninoff. But most heartfelt and captivating was the performance with organ accompaniment of the famous “Vocalise” by Rachmaninoff. It was sung by Susan Sheldon, a soloist from the choir, in her fabulous versatile warm-toned soprano. In this performance, and in the spacious acoustic of this venue, the piece took on a new, prayerful character. The spectators gave a huge round of applause after the concert.
An invitation to Russkaya Cappella to give a concert during the exhibition dedicated to the Russian Empress Catherine the Great in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, with exhibits from the Hermitage on display, was yet another confirmation of the success of this performance.