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This moving piece embodies all the simplicity of Russian Orthodox music, yet displays the sweeping beauty of Rachmaninov's lyricism. Conductors will appreciate the opportunity to teach extended phrases and legato style. 'Vespers' is the sunset evening prayer of the Orthodox Church, and during the canonical hours of an all-night vigil, the 'Ave Maria' would be sung at midnight, hence the 12 chime notes at the apex of the piece. For a special effect, the mallet parts can be doubled off-stage to simulate church bells. (2:40)
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