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Tchaikovsky and his solemn chorale

Last night I discovered one of the most gorgeous hymns composed in the Romantic genre. It is Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “In the Church,” Op. 39, a perfect segue way to Christmas.

My diverse journey through the composer’s Children’s Album has been a potpourri of moods and colors sprinkled through “Sweet Dream,” “Playing Hobby-Horses,” “Song of the Lark,” “New Doll,” “March of the Wooden Soldiers,” Old French Song,” “Neapolitan Song,” “Polka,” and many more tableaux.

Yet at the moment, “In the Church” has mesmerized me.

It brings back memories of a trip I took to the Russian Orthodox Church in New York City with my High School of Performing Arts classmate, Olga Dolsky. She led me into an awesome space with colorful icons, and the most fantastic acoustics.

There, I heard a very famous Russian choir in the balcony, and watched a bearded priest spread incense through filled pews.

Tchaikovsky’s church music would have been a perfect draping for this pious service.

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