[Passion Week] was composed in St Petersburg during the turbulent years of the Bolshevik Revolution and Russian Civil War, in an environment where repression against the Church was already being felt, and arrests of nobility, clergy, artists, intellectuals, as well as ordinary believers, were commonplace: Steinberg’s own brother-in-law, Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov, a professional violist, was arrested. Shortly after the work was completed, the performance of all sacred music was banned by the Bolshevik cultural commissars. On December 12, 1923, Steinberg made the following entry in his diary: ‘Today I learned from Klimov that all sacred music has been banned, with exception of two classic works. That means there is no hope of hearing Passion Week…'
You can vote now in the BBC Classical Music Awards (voting is open until the 24th). I enjoyed listening to the nominees, all top-notch. I was struck by Maximilian Steinberg's Passion Week, performed by The Clarion Choir with conductor Steven Fox.
From the BBC site about Passion Week: Written for the Russian Orthodox Church in the early 1920s by Shostakovich’s composition teacher Maximilian Steinberg, this profoundly beautiful choral piece lay forgotten for over 90 years.