Hymn to Saint Nicholas
by Ivan Moody
Texts: Sticheron from Vespers for the Feast of St Nicholas, Trisagion (Slavonic, Greek)
Commissioned by the KotorArt Festival, 2009
15 minutes SSAATTBB
Hymn to Saint Nicholas was commissioned by the KotorArt Festival in Montenegro for the 2009 edition, and was given its première on 11th August 2009 by the KotorArt Festival Choir under my direction. The entire concert (the rest of which was conducted by Bogdan Djakovic, the choirmaster of St. George’s Cathedral, Novi Sad, Serbia) was dedicated to St. Nicholas, in honour of the Orthodox church in the city, which is dedicated to the saint.
Initially, I had considered writing a narrative work, based on the life of St. Nicholas, but it soon became apparent that there was material in such abundance that the piece would become unwieldy. A sticheron from Vespers for the Saint was the answer, in that it celebrates the virtues of St. Nicholas in joyful fashion while allowing the opportunity for a mystical elaboration of them. (I use the first word, “Radusya” — “Rejoice” as a refrain, providing the work with a series of structural pillars.) There is a specific Serbian element in the work, in that at one point I quote the Trisagion, in Greek, by the mediaeval composer Isaiah the Serb, symbolic for me of the saint praising the Creator through his life.
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Notes by Ivan Moody. Used by permission.
Ivan Moody studied music and theology at the Universities of London, Joensuu and York. His music has been performed and broadcast all over the world, and recorded on the Hyperion, ECM, Telarc and Sony labels. As a conductor he works regularly with a number of choirs and ensembles in both Europe and America, and, as a musicologist, has written extensively on early and contemporary music. He is a priest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and is currently Chairman of the International Society for Orthodox Music.