July 3: Tours – Baltics 2014, St. Petersburg

Jon CurtisSeason of the Day, SOTD - July

The Allan Petker Chorale’s third tour was to the Baltics including St. Petersburg, Russia, Tallinn, Estonia, and Stockholm, Sweden in 2014.

Quiz of the Day
In Croatia we discovered Klapa, traditional a cappella singing.  What was the unique type of instrument and music that we discovered in St. Petersburg, Russia?
(Answer below)

The tour began in St. Petersburg.  The video starts at a very unusual venue, the Lutheran Church of St. Peter and St Paul.  During the Soviet era the church was converted into a competition swimming pool.  At the link you can still see the pool’s bleachers on the sides.  The diving platforms were placed where the altar has been restored.  The church used to be one floor lower, so now the congregation sits at what was water level.  But even worse, it still has the acoustics of a swimming pool!  For that reason, the audio of today’s video was recorded in Stockholm.

Next, the video takes us across the river to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.  It houses the imperial tombs of almost all of the Russian emperors and empresses, including Peter and Catherine.

Following along with the music we go to Tikhvin Cemetery, a landmark dubbed, “The Necropolis of Artists.” While it contains the graves of all types of artists including authors, poets, and painters, the video shows the composers’ section.

Our selection is another from Canadian composer Matthew Emery, “When the Sun Comes After Rain,” with words by Robert Louis Stevenson.

When the sun comes after rain
And the bird is in the blue,
The girls go down the lane
Two by two.
When the sun comes after shadow
And the singing of the showers,
The girls go up the meadow,
Fair as flowers.
When the eve comes dusky red
And the moon succeeds the sun,
The girls go home to bed
One by one.
And when life draws to its even
And the day of man is past,
They shall all go home to heaven,
Home at last

Answer: While touring Peterhof we were entertained by a group from the St. Petersburg Horn Orchestra.  The horns they play are derived from Russian hunting horns.  Each horn plays only one note, so their method of making music is similar to hand bells.  In 2015, the year after the tour, the St. Petersburg Horn Orchestra came on tour to the United States, and Jon Curtis was able to record them on his iPhone at Fort Ross, California.  Here is a link to that recording.