Rachmaninov’s “Rejoice, O Virgin”: Robert Shaw Festival Singers, Tenebrae

Rejoice, O Virgin (Ave Maria) forms the sixth movement of Sergei Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil, Op. 37 (also known as the “Vespers”).

Scored for a cappella chorus, the All-Night Vigil was composed over the course of two weeks in January and February of 1915. It has been called “the greatest musical achievement of the Russian Orthodox Church.” The monumental liturgical work, completed during the First World War, represents the culmination of a sacred musical tradition which included music of Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, and which came to an abrupt end with the Communist revolution of 1917.

In an upcoming post, we will explore the All-Night Vigil in its entirety. For now, here are two recordings of Rejoice, O Virgin. First, we will hear Robert Shaw’s 1990 recording with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers:

This equally beautiful and more intimate version features the London-based ensemble, Tenebrae:


  • Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil, Op. 37, Robert Shaw, Robert Shaw Festival Singers Amazon
  • Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil, Op. 37, Nigel Short, Tenebrae Amazon

Featured Image: candles in an Orthodox Church, photograph by Ivan Murauyou

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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