It would not be right to say that if I don’t listen to Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture, it simply is not Easter for me. The Solemnity of Solemnities and our Pasch happens whether or not the great Russian composer’s work sounds in my ears. But I will admit that not an Easter goes by without my listening to it.
Just as Western orchestral masters of the Romantic era occasionaly incorporated Gregorian chant melodies into their works (e.g., Hector Berlioz incorporating the Dies Irae into the fifth movement of his Symphonie Fantastique), Rimsky-Korsakov borrowed from the sublimely beautiful tradition of Russian chant a certain melody from the Slavic-Byzantine Liturgy utilized by the Russian people.
Below is a rendition of this masterpiece conducted by the great Russian composer, Valery Gergiev. I enjoy the maestro’s conducting even if his peculiar hand gestures (by which he imagines he “shapes” the music) distract somewhat. Because this magnificent and gifted conductor has been the victim of a stupid and fashionable anti-Russian “cancel culture” that attacks real culture (see here, here, and here), I purposely chose his rendition of it here.