Dimitrij Kitajenko (Dmitry, Dmitri, Dimitri, Kitayenko, Kitaenko)

Russian choral music in Cologne

Dmitrij Kitajenko conceived a great program with Russian choral music for a project with three concerts at the Philharmonie in Cologne. The concerts begin with the The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya, a suite in four pictures which Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) draw from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakovs fairy opera The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh. The plot revolves around a mystical maiden, Fevroniya, who dreams of protecting her city Kitezh against the Tartars by letting it become invisible. In his penultimate work, Rimsky-Korsakov composed a most brilliant music, which was compared to this of Wagner's Parsifal. The second work on the program is Sergei Taneyev's cantata St. John of Damascus for mixed choir and orchestra, a magnificent work that the composer considered as an homage to Johann Sebastian Bach, without denying his Russian roots. The text comes from a poem of Aleksej Tolstoi, a cousin of Leo Tolstoi. Taneyev studied with Nikolai Rubinstein and Piotr Tchaikovsky who said about him: "He is the best contrapuntist of Russia, and one does perhaps not find any better in the western countries." In his music, Taneyev combines the severe counterpoint with a melodic development inspired by the Russian songs. The choir from St John of Damascus is also inspired by the orthodox plainsong. The three movements are a musical picture of St. John's long life and pilgrimage. The last work on the program is Sergei Rachmaninov's choral symphony The Bells. Composed in 1913 it describes different facets of existence, from birth to death. Rachmaninov's composition for soprano, tenor, baritone, choir and big orchestra is based on Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem in a free Russian translation by Konstantin Balmont.
Anna Samuil, soprano
Dmytro Popov, tenor
Vladislav Sulimski, bass-baritone
Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno Petr Fiala, music director
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln
17.06.2018 - Sunday 11:00, Philharmonie Cologne
18.06.2018 - Monday 20:00, Philharmonie Cologne
19.06.2018 - Tuesday 20:00, Philharmonie Cologne

Concert review from Pizzicato