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Editors Choice

Festival of sacred music

In January, the Moscow International House of Music initiates an unprecedented musical event: it will host a Christmas Festival of Sacred Music. Blessed by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia it will present leading choirs from different countries of the world, including the Choir of Westminster Abbey (London), the choir of St. Stephan of Decani Christ of the Cathedral of the Three Holy Hierarchs (Novi Sad, Serbia), the Cathedral Choir of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Moscow Synodal Choir, the Male Choir of the Moscow Sretensky Monastery, and the Choir of the Popov Academy of Choral Art. Vladimir Spivakov, Director of the House of Music, and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, are the artistic directors of the Festival and have selected the musical programme. Religious music is closely related to liturgical services in churches and is rarely performed anywhere else. The Svetlanovsky Hall of the House of Music with its fine acoustics will be an ideal place to present such sacred music

9-23 January,
Moscow House of Music and 

to wider audiences. The festival also widens the boundaries of music that can be considered as religious. Along with compositions by “professional church composers”, Dmitri Bortnyansky (1751-1825) and Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926), there will be other pieces for choir and orchestra based religious texts. It is impossible to imagine Orthodox services without music, so this is a chance to delight in the musical side of Orthodoxy.

Westminster Abbey Choir

Silver Camera: a visual archive for the megapolis of Moscow

Silver Camera is the title of an annual photographic competition initiated by the Moscow House of Photography. It was first held ten years ago and since then has become an important event for both amateur and professional photographers. After an initial selection, all the photographs are displayed anonymously and the winners are named by a jury at the end of the show in January.

December 15–January 25.
12:00-20:00 except Monday
Moscow House of Photography,
16, Ostozhenka street

The jury usually has to decide from more than 12,000 submissions. 800 will be on display in the following nominations: Architecture, Events and everyday life, Faces.

Also in January on display in the new building of the Moscow House of Photography: Electrical Nights and Georgy Petrusov’s retrospective. This is double bill with impressive video installations and work by some of Russia’s best modernist photographers.

Big artists, especially for children

A children’s artist should be thoroughly kind, Victor Chizhikov, designer of the Moscow Olympic games emblem and contributing artist of the most popular Soviet children’s magazine, Merry Pictures, once said. This exhibition of graphics from Merry Pictures celebrates the magazine’s 55th anniversary. The exhibition at the Tretyakov displays graphics owned by the magazine’s publishing house, which has printed an astounding five billion

15 December-20 February,
10:00-19:00, Tuesday-Sunday,
State Tretyakov Gallery,
10, Krymsky Val

copies of Merry Pictures. Over three million illustrations were printed. But the most important thing is that almost every Russian child even nowadays remembers amusing stories and characters with names impossible to render in English: Samodelkin, Petrushka, Neznaka, Dyuimovochka. These were the first Soviet “comics”, though the word was not in use in the Russian. Today the magazine is known for its lively graphics.

Celebrating Andrei Rublev

t is impossible to overestimate Andrei Rublev’s influence on Russian culture. The greatest medieval painter of Orthodox icons and frescoes, a venerated saint of the Russian Orthodox Church, he created icons that helped Russia survive invasions, both morally and physically. Today his creations, and those attributed as his, are stored in several museums in Russia. Until the 17th century, Russian artists never signed their paintings, which is why attributions are usually based on literary evidence and style. Two major museums, the State Tretyakov Gallery and Moscow’s Andrei Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art, collaborated to prepare this exhibition. Little is known of Rublev’s life. Born in 1360, he was an assistant to the great Theophanes the Greek, who came to Russia from Constantinople. This means that he was trained in the Byzantine icon painting tradition where the spiritual essence of art is valued much more than naturalistic representation. Theophanes and Rublev are referred to as the initiators of the Moscow school of icon painting. Later Rublev became a monk in Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra near Moscow and then at the Andronikov monastery in Moscow. Written evidence confirms that Rublev also worked on the decoration of the wall paintings in the Dormition of the Virgin at Vladimir Cathedral, the Archangel Michael and the Saviour Cathedral in Zvenigorod. Some of frescoes are partially displayed in the Tretyakov gallery now.

21 December – 27 February,
10:00-19:00 every day except Monday.
State Tretyakov Gallery,
10, Lavrushensky lane

Foreign orders of Russian Emperors

nsignias as Latin symbols of authority or power are interesting for experts and non-experts alike. Power, glory and precious stones come together in an aesthetically pleasing way. Orders are primarily to do with ceremonies and national traditions. The exhibition held at the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch’s Palace in the Kremlin highlights foreign orders and insignia awarded to Russian Emperors from the monarchs of European and Asian states. On display are more than three hundred artifacts created by renowned foreign goldsmiths, these are mainly insignia: stars, crosses and chains of different orders. Portraits of the emperors, their ceremonial costumes, interiors and historical documents are also on display. The project was initiated by the State Archive of the Russian Federation, State Archives of Ancient Documents, the State Historical Museum, State Hermitage Museum and other Russian museums.

Until 9 March,
10:00-18:00, every day except Thursdays,
Kremlin Museums,
One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch’s Palace

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