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Tink found them, the Oktavists...sing an octave below you would think anyone could possibly go, and they are especially appreciated in Russia...and I just came upon this stunning All-Night Vigil, WOW!

"Chesnokov composed this opulent, Romantic setting of the Magnificat for the famous Russian soprano Antonina Nezhdanova (1873–1950), the leading soprano of the Bolshoi Opera during the first half of the 20th century, to whom Rachmaninoff dedicated his well-known “Vocalise.” The soloist sings the words of the Virgin Mary in sweeping lyric lines over a sumptuous choral accompaniment." 

The solo is carried by this incredibly beautiful soprano voice, and Mikhail Zlatopolsky seems to be the most beloved oktavist of the 20th century. If you listen to this, do hang on until the end, 3:14 or so, where Zlatopolsky just goes impossibly deep! 

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+2 votes

Wow... he hits a low A flat!   :O

And I thought the B flat at the end of Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil #5 (Nunc Dimittis) was low. None of our basses could really hit that B flat, so they brought in a guest oktavist for the purpose. :)


Tink this is just exquisite, I saw in comments that it was sung at Rachmaninoff's funeral.

I have a theory, don't know if you might be intrigued by my ideas, because I used to teach comparative spiritual traditions of the world. Those oktavists, their deep voices are reminiscent of the great OM coming out from the Source (or God if you will), to form Creation...Creation represented by the diversity of the choir voices. So humankind, we all respond at some level to the archetypal quality of oktavist tones.

Christian version of Om is AMEN, of course, anchoring our prayers back to the Source.

So I think Rachmaninoff (and the others) was actually hearing the music of the spheres, and had the talent to render that for us all to hear. Very calming...helps humankind navigate through difficult times such as right now, exquisitely hopeful. 

I don't know if Elvis Presley knew about the oktavists, but it's interesting that he selected a group with one of them for his own beautiful gospel music...


Yes, indeed, Virginia.  And here is the sound of creation again in this 1500 year old Kyrie.


O Tink that is absolutely glorious...I looked up "kyrie eleison," and (as you already will know) it translates as "Lord have mercy" from the New Testament...and mercy often rendered as the Hebrew word Chesed in the Psalms...and all of this closely related to the concept of Metta (lovingkindness) in the Pali language, where the Buddhist scriptures were first recorded!

...and the Buddhist monks, in their monasteries chanting the Metta meditations...their own style of oktavist choirs the music of the spheres, for the benefit of beings...even Shakespeare jumping into the fray, eternity descending into the world of time and space and taking action there:

But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute to God Himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. 

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