TALLINN - Estonia is known for its long tradition of big music and song festivals. An international festival of Orthodox sacred music, “Credo,” has taken place in Estonia since 1994 and has, since then, been an important event of musical life every September. The festival’s goal is the preservation, development and popularization of Orthodox musical culture. Masterly performances, a wide variety of concert programs and a considerable increase in the interest in Orthodox culture among the contemporary world, give promise of a great European-scale event.
Church and monastery choirs, secular choirs that have Orthodox repertoire, and children’s choirs of high masterly execution will participate in the festival.
According to the organizers of the festival, one of the festival’s aims is a study of reception of ancient Orthodox culture in contemporary sacred music.
Over twelve years, the Festival has witnessed some of the finest examples of Orthodox music, from early Christian liturgical chants to compositions by modern composers. The participants of the Festival have included outstanding choral groups from Estonia, Russia, Georgia, Latvia, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Ukraine, and Romania: among them the Chamber Choir of the Moscow Patriarchate “Drevnerussky Raspev,” the Festal Choir of the Danilov Monastery, the Mixed Choir of the Estonian Radio, the Estonian early music ensemble Hortus Musicus, the “Blagovest” Sacred Music Ensemble of Moscow, the Male Choir of St. Petersburg and many others.
In an effort to nurture an interest towards Christian culture among the youth, the Festival has also invited serious-minded children’s and youth choirs, giving these young musicians the opportunity to perform alongside real masters.
The male ensemble “Credo,” directed by Zoya Tumanova, was founded in September 2008.
Since the very first public performance, “Credo” has drawn the attention of listeners due to authenticity of sound reproduction that creates the aura of spirituality at the concerts. The youth of the singers, their deep affection for music, evoke a response, and their professional skills have been noted by music critics.
During the first year of its existence, the ensemble participated in a number of festivals – Church Renaissance (Estonia), Ancient music festival on Gotland (Sweden), music festivals in Stockholm, Goteborg, Ahus (Sweden). The ensemble gave concerts in churches of Tallinn, Narva and Tartu.
In October 2009, the ensemble “Credo” took part in the International Festival of Orthodox Sacred Music and won third prize of the First International Contest of Sacred Music. The ensemble also took part in the Orthodox Music Festival in St. Petersburg (Russia) in July, 2010, participated in the premiere of the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (old Russian chants from XVII century). This September, during the International Festival “Wratislavia Cantans” (Wroclaw, Poland), the ensemble gave concerts in Lubiaz, Jelcr-Laskowice, Zgorzelec and Klodzko.
“We truly hope that this year’s festival draws huge crowds and will be a big success,” says one of the organizers of the festival.
The 17th International Festival of Orthodox Sacred Music takes place in Tallinn on Sept. 21 and will last till Oct. 3.