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Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998): Penitential Psalms / RIAS Kammerchor, Hans-Christoph Rademann

Album Summary

>Schnittke, Alfred : Penitential Psalms, for chorus
>Schnittke, Alfred : Sacred Hymns (3) for chorus
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Hans-Christoph Rademann leads the RIAS Kammerchor in an essential work from contemporary Russian composer Alfred Schnittke. The Penitential Psalms were created in Moscow in 1988 in celebration of a thousand years of Christianity. The texts are culled from anonymous 16th century writings about religion. The performances here have been interpreted from the original manuscript of the composer. Also included are Schnittke's Three Sacred Hymns, a trilogy of works rooted in Russian romanticism.

The Irish Times, 17th March 2016
The extreme vocal demands are well met by Hans-Christoph Rademann and his Berlin singers, whose performance follows the composer's autograph rather than the published score.

The Observer, 20th March 2016
Though fiercely complex and demanding, they have a piercing intensity, and the wordless final psalm with its aspiring harmonies is incredibly affecting. The sacred hymns that follow are much simpler, but equally well performed by the superb RIAS Chamber Choir.

The Classical Reviewer, 21st April 2016
For those that find some of Schnittke's music difficult to assimilate this new disc will come as a surprise. Certainly there are very individual touches here but this is great choral music with many beauties. Hans-Christoph Rademann and the RIAS Kammerchor rarely let the temperature drop in these fine performances, full of passion, sorrow and tragic beauty. This is a stunningly vital disc.

Gramophone Magazine, May 2016
The demands [of the Penitential Psalms] on intonation and colouristic range are [intense]. The Berlin-based RIAS Chamber Choir cope admirably with all and with the Russian texts... the three Sacred Hymns are a small but not unattractive bonus.

MusicWeb International, May 2016
Even without a score we know the notes are written exactly as it sounds here, because the RIAS Chamber Choir under Hans-Christoph Rademann (arguably the world's best such ensemble) can be trusted to reproduce the music accurately, if nothing else. Beyond that considerable technical challenge, fortunately, they also invest the music with fervor so that it never sounds cerebral or dry or academic but instead written with an urgency, with passion, even warmth.

Choir & Organ, July/August 2016
A fine new recording ... The choir and Rademann are completely inside this score, which they deliver with confidence and authority.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Jesus-Christus Kirche, Berlin-Dahlem (02/2015).


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Works Details

>Schnittke, Alfred : Penitential Psalms, for chorus
  • Conductor: Hans-Christoph Rademann
  • Ensemble: RIAS Kammerchor
  • Running Time: 3 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1988

>Schnittke, Alfred : Sacred Hymns (3) for chorus
  • Conductor: Hans-Christoph Rademann
  • Running Time: 6 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1983