St. Vladimir’s Seminary receives historic music collection

April 12, 2013


The Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Library recently received the Skvir–Buketoff Music Collection from Archpriest Daniel and Tamara Skvir, rector and choir director of Holy Transfiguration Chapel [OCA], Princeton, NJ.

The collection consists of four boxes of Eastern Orthodox liturgical music published between 1819 and 1950 and includes several unique and rare scores.

The bulk of the Buketoff–Turkevich–Skvir collection belonged to Archpriest Constantine Buketoff, who came to the United States in the first decade of the 20th century as a church musician, and later served as rector of several parishes in the vicinity of New York City. It includes hundreds of pre–Revolutionary individual sheet music scores as well as anthologies. Dozens of Russian composers are represented, prolific composer, conductor and teacher Pavel Chesnokoff prominent among them.

The Buketoff portion of the collection was later passed on to Father Constantine’s son, Igor Buketoff, a renowned symphony conductor and composer known for his unique rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture that incorporates the choral component, and for his orchestration of Rachmaninoff’s unfinished opera, Mona Vanna.

Subsequently, Father Daniel and Tamara—Father Constantine’s granddaughter—inherited the collection and supplemented it with the music collection of Archpriest John Skvir, who reposed in 1987 after serving as rector of Saints Peter and Paul Church, Jersey City, NJ for 35 years. The entire collection was then donated to the Father Georges Florovsky Library by the combined families.

“In addition to making this generous donation, the Skvirs also volunteered a significant amount of time in 2012 at the seminary to organize the collection and create a list of its contents,” noted Librarian Eleana Silk. “We are grateful to Father Daniel and Matushka Tassie for their efforts to make this collection more accessible to our patrons. Many thanks!”

To access a complete list of the collection’s contents, visit Saint Vladimir’s Seminary web site. Additional information may be obtained from Eleana Silk at es@svots.edu.