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Valentin Silvestrov: Sacred Works

Compact Disc (Audio)
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Valentin Silvestrov: Sacred Works
Valentin Silvestrov: Sacred Works


This album of sacred a cappella works from recent years - music of haunting beauty, characterised in turns by calm introspection and serene lightness - offers a fascinating addition to the wide spectrum of works by Valentin Silvestrov on ECM New Series. The imprint, recently named 'Label of the Year' in the 2009 Gramophone Awards, has championed the Ukrainian master (born 1937) since 2001, but Sacred Works represents a new development by the composer.

Silvestrov's compositions for chamber choir have a uniquely transparent sound with otherwordly shifting harmonies and free timing. The pieces were written mostly in 2005/06 on the instigation of chorus master Mykola Hobdych and these ravishing performances - displaying astounding flexibility and polish - are very much "authentic": the Kiev Chamber Choir have repeatedly studied the pieces with the composer and gave the premières of the majority.

Silvestrov's interest in the choir came comparatively late. Partly due to conductor Mykola Hobdych's persistent encouragement, he immersed himself more deeply in the choral world and began to study old Russian litanies. Once he had started reading them, he was so fascinated that he wrote some 40 minutes of music within two weeks. By treating the choir as an ensemble of "extremely modest" soloists and dividing the sections into small groups, Silvestrov acquires unique sonic and harmonic effects and an utmost flexibility of melody and rhythm. Its lyrical fluency and introvert tenderness brings Silvestrov's choral writing close to his much-lauded Silent Songs, to Requiem for Larissa and his music for solo piano.

Personnel: Kiev Chamber Choir, Mykola Hobdych (conductor)


  1. Name
  2. Liturgical chants (2005) Litany
  3. Four spiritual songs - Christmas Song
  4. Dithyrambic Song
  5. Cherubic Song
  6. Alleluia
  7. Bless, O Lord
  8. O Holy God
  9. The Creed
  10. Gloria
  11. Hymn of the Cherubs
  12. The Beatitudes
  13. Ave Maria
  14. Two spiritual songs (2006) Alleluia
  15. Ave Maria
  16. Two spiritual chants (2006) A Mercy of Peace
  17. To Thee we Sing
  18. Two Psalms of David (2006) Fret not thyself because of the ungodly (Psalm 37)
  19. O Praise God in His Sanctuary (Psalm 150)
  20. Diptych (1995) The Lord's Prayer
  21. Testament (from the poems of T.H. Shevchenko)
  22. Alleluia (2006) Evening
  23. Morning
  24. Night
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