The three pieces of the set are arrangements of folk-songs from the Russian and Doukhobor traditions and were prepared on commision from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for the Vancover Chamber Choir's 1989 tour of the former Soviet Union.
Of the three, the first (All Throughout the Great Wide World) and the third (Along the Perterskaya) are well-known Russian tunes, highly rhythmic and vigorous; and employ quasi-instrumental accompaniment effects, whistling, and optional sleigh-bells and slap-stick (whip).
The second (The Black Raven) comes from the Doukhobor community of British Columbia, Canada, and is a poignant lament of great lyricism and power. It uses a contralto soloist to introduce and carry melody through the piece.
For mixed choir (SATB), alto and tenor soloists, and percussion. Russion and English.