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Alexander Raskatov: Monk's Music

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Alexander Raskatov: Monk's Music
Alexander Raskatov: Monk's Music


Alexander Raskatov's monumental work for string quartet and bass voice, Seven Words by Starets Silouan, was completed in 2005 but following the death of its commissioner, cellist Valentin Berlinsky of the Borodin Quartet, the work was never performed. The premiere finally took place in Dundalk, Ireland in February 2013, courtesy of Louth Contemporary Music Society which then recorded this album, Monk's Music.

Modelled on Joseph Haydn's The Seven Last Words of Christ, Raskatov's work sets seven stanzas from the writings of Starets Silouan (1866-1938), a Russian monk also known as Saint Silouan the Athonite due to his spiritual development on Mount Athos in Greece. "Look upon my affliction, and lighten my darkness", intones Gordon Jones of The Hilliard Ensemble with all the solemnity of a Russian Orthodox Church singer at one point in the piece; Jones's incantations fall like focal calls to prayer between the Carducci Quartet's tantalising enterprises into the unknown.

Born in 1954 in Moscow, Alexander Rastakov was once described by Alfred Schnittke as "one of the most interesting composers of his generation". Having studied at the Moscow Conservatoire, his music is certainly influenced by the Western classical music tradition, especially Stravinsky and Webern, but his musical roots also stretch from Slavonic folk music to both the Jewish and Orthodox Russian sacred music traditions.

Based in the UK, the Carducci Quartet is recognized as one of today's most successful string quartets, performing over 90 concerts worldwide annually whilst running their own festival in Hignam, Gloucestershire and recording label Carducci Classics. For Louth, they appeared on Path, playing music by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, Polina Medyulyanova and Zurab Nadarejshvili.

A member of The Hilliard Ensemble since 1990, Gordon Jones has made countless recordings, from Arvo Pärt and Gavin Bryars to Bach, Lassus, Gesualdo and the 'Officium' discs with saxophonist Jan Garbarek. Simultaneously with Monk's Music, he releases an ECM recording with the Hilliard Ensemble, Il Cor Tristo.

Personnel: Matthew Denton, Michelle Fleming (violin), Eoin Schmidt-Martin (viola), Emma Denton (cello); Gordon Jones (baritone)


  1. Name
  2. Seven Words by Starets Silouan (In memoriam Mieczyslaw Weinberg), Adagio
  3. Adagio cantabile
  4. Adagio recitando
  5. Adagio chiaro e dolcissimo
  6. Adagio affettuoso
  7. Andante spianato
  8. Adagio molto
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