Listen: Bless the Lord, o my soul

 

An archival recording of the world premiere, performed by Vox Clamantis under the direction of Jaan-Eik Tulve, at the 2013 Vale of Glamorgan Festival.

For information on performing this work or obtaining a perusal score, please contact SDG.

 

About the composer

Galina Grigorjeva was born in the Crimea, Ukraine. She studied at Odessa Conservatory and St Petersburg Conservatory. She later moved to Tallinn to study with Lepo Sumera and has remained in Estonia as a resident where she now works as a freelance composer. Performers of her music have included Hortus Musicus (Andres Mustonen), Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (Paul Hillier), Moscow Chamber Orchestra (Constantine Orbelian), Kremerata Baltica (Gidon Kremer), Moscow Patriarchate Choir (Anatoly Grindenko), State Choir Latvia, Kroumata Percussion Ensemble (Sweden), and the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet.

Bless the Lord, o my soul

Galina Grigorjeva
Bless the Lord, o my soul

Mixed chorus (SATB), a cappella
DURATION: 7 minutes
TEXT: Psalm 103
A soulful a cappella work rooted in Byzantine tradition. Psalms Project Commission

 

 

World Premiere
May 16, 2013
Vox Clamantis
Jaan-Eik Tulve, conductor
St. Augustine’s Church
Penarth, Wales

 U.S. Premiere
January 19, 2014
Cor Cantiamo
Eric A. Johnson, conductor
College Church
Wheaton, Illinois

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first Eastern Orthodox composer to join the Soli Deo Gloria Psalms Project, Galina Grigorjeva is a Ukrainian-born composer living in Estonia. Her work reflects both the Slavic tradition of liturgical music as well as early European polyphony, and “the breathing rhetoric of her music” has been described as “similar to that of Arvo Pärt’s yet it expresses an original perception of harmony.” (Klassikaraadio).

On Thursday, May 16, 2013, in the beautiful environs of St. Augustine’s Church in Penarth, Wales, Vox Clamantis, a 15-voice Estonian choir conducted by Jaan-Eik Tulve, delivered an inspiring world premiere of Grigorjeva’s SDG-commissioned Psalm work, Bless the Lord, o my soul, at the 2013 Vale of Glamorgan Festival

In his review of the St. Augustine concert (which also included a world premieres of another SDG-commissioned Psalm work by John Metcalf), journalist Peter Collins wrote:

“Rarely have the sacred walls of St Augustine’s Church … resounded to choral music as moving as that produced on a late spring evening by the Estonian choral group, Vox Clamantis. This was a genuinely inspiring and uplifting concert.”—Peter Collins, Wales Online

 

St. Augustine's Church, Penarth, Wales
St. Augustine's Church
Penarth, Wales

In a public pre-concert discussion with SDG representative Peter Bannister, Grigorjeva explained that she had chosen Psalm 103 as her text because of its emphasis on Divine strength. She explained that she felt close to this text because of its clues “not for what, but WHY we live, what our purpose is.”

 “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him … Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion; Bless the Lord, o my soul.”
—Psalm 103:15-17, King James Version

Although the text of Bless the Lord, o my soul is set in English, the work is clearly rooted in Byzantine traditions and, much like Grigorjeva’s previous compositions, has connections with Eastern Orthodox church music.

 

 “Ukrainian composer Galina Grigorjeva … has produced a soulful work, the depths of which demand—and would reward—repeated listening. Bless the Lord, O My Soul has a momentum and drive which Vox Clamantis captured in a life-affirming interpretation that was full of grace and beauty.”—Peter Collins, Wales Online