Christmas Eve of the Russian Orthodox Church (on January 6th) is traditionally celebrated in the liturgy of the Christmas Vigil (vsenoschnoye bdeniye). This most important event of the evening before Christmas is a service lasting many hours with much singing and with light processions. The Christmas message was also a source of inspiration for many Russian composers. They created music, which celebrated the depth, pathos and emotion of the Christmas story in all its splendour. The present recording contains chants from the Christmas Vigil – one of the most beautiful Masses of the Eastern Orthodox rite – with works by the greatest composers from Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria. In 1921, the unforgettable Sergei Jaroff founded the Don Cossacks choir, which he conducted without interruption until its disbanding in 1979. When the new political freedom under Gorbachev made it possible, after decades of persecution, for the Don Cossacks to return to their homeland on the banks of the Don, the Don Cossacks Choir was re-founded in 1992. In order to bring the choir up to a top international level rapidly, the leading Dutch choir director Marcel Verhoeff was engaged, who, in the shortest space of time, made the Don Cossacks Choir Russia, as it is officially called, bloom as of old. All the members of the Don Cossacks Choir Russia are professional singers, and come from old Cossack families of the Don, the Kuban or the Terek.