In the Orthodox Church, the All-Night Vigil is observed on the eves of great feast days; it’s a combination of services, including the Great Vespers, Matins and the First Hour. In practical terms, an actual All-Night Vigil is seldom encountered these days outside a monastery, but even the shorter versions, more suited to modern attention spans, can last several hours.

/… here about the CD
John Tavener “The Veil of the Temple” RCA (82876661542)…/

More generally approachable, and more traditionally tuneful (and instrument-free), is Rachmaninov’s gorgeous “All-Night Vigil,” Op. 37. This Vigil is just Vespers and Matins. The score contains one luscious setting after another, combining age-old chants with Rachmaninov’s Russian Romantic sensibility in a beautiful whole.

The richness of the choral writing is complemented by the ravishingly lovely and authentic performance from the Estonian Philharmonic Choir and acclaimed choral director Paul Hillier. This is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in choral music or Orthodox spirituality.

Estonian Chamber Choir “Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil”
Harmonia Mundi (HMU 907384)