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Valentin Silvestrov: Sacred Songs / Olexander Bida, Victor Sachok, Tetiana Havrylenko, Petro Biletskij, Kiev Chamber Choir

Album Summary

>Silvestrov, Valentin : Songs for Vespers, for chorus
>Silvestrov, Valentin : Psalms and Prayers, for chorus
>Silvestrov, Valentin : Psalms of David (2), for chorus
>Silvestrov, Valentin : Spiritual Refrains (2), for chorus
>Silvestrov, Valentin : Spiritual Songs (2), for chorus
>Silvestrov, Valentin : Spiritual Songs (3), for chorus
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Since 2001, ECM has enthusiastically championed the art of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov with recording of his orchestra, chamber and vocal works - creations that stand as some of the most arresting and moving in contemporary music. This continues in Silvestrov's 75th birthday year with Sacred Songs, the seventh album ECM has devoted wholly to the composer's music; it collects sets of songs, refrains, psalms and prayers composed from 2006 to 2008 that reflect the composer's late-blooming interest in writing for a capella voices, which led previously to the ECM releases Requiem for Larissa and Sacred Works. Like the latter album, Sacred Songs features the utterly attuned, even other worldly performances of Ukrain's Kiev Chamber Choir under the direction of co-founder Mykola hobdych, with the recording made in the resounding air of St. Michael's Golden-Dorned Monastery, an ancient building recently reconstructed, the acoustic of which is almost a joint performer with the choir. The BBC description of Sacred Works just as easily fits the new Sacred Songs: A ravishing collection of a cappella choral works by Silvestrov that perfectly illustrates his own description of his music as a response to and an echo of what already exists. It is the sheer beauty of sound that catches the ear... luminous and lyrical.

American Record Guide, January/February 2013
Flickering, luminescent strands of vibrating choral energies - sort of musical "strings" a la the theory - are what this music is all about. As Paul Griffiths points out in his helpful notes, melodies in Silvestrov's music are mere "traces dissolving in the waters of eternity, of eternity as implied by harmonies that sound like reverberations". Some of these harmonic echoes create interludes of introspection and sadness; others are perkier and flirt with feelings of inner joy. One bubbly motive he uses reminds me of 'Dulcinea' from Man of La Mancha ("Never seen thee, or touched thee, but known thee...") The starter kit ECM sent me did not include texts or translations. Maybe the finished product will have them, but I don't think it matters. This music isn't about words; it's about the connection of sound and spirit. The sounds of Silvestrov's choral "strings" are brought to consciousness by these remarkable singers from Ukraine's capital, and by the sacred space of St Michael's Monastery, which - make no mistake - is a co-creator of this unique and moving music.

Gramophone Magazine, February 2013
The disc reflects a remarkably productive recent period in the composer's life...The music's

International Record Review, December 2012
I doubt whether any other choir could sing this music with such heart and understanding. The whole disc is bathed in the glow of St Michael's Cathedral, Kiev...A remarkable recording packed with extraordinary things: 'Sacred Songs' deserves to be widely heard.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: St Michael's Cathedral, Kiev (2008).



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Works Details

>Silvestrov, Valentin : Songs for Vespers, for chorus
  • Performers: Victor Sachok (Voice); Olexander Bida (Voice)
  • Conductor: Mykola Hobdych
  • Ensemble: Kiev Chamber Choir
  • Running Time: 23 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2006

>Silvestrov, Valentin : Psalms and Prayers, for chorus
  • Conductor: Mykola Hobdych
  • Running Time: 19 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007

>Silvestrov, Valentin : Psalms of David (2), for chorus
  • Performer: Petro Biletskij (Voice)
  • Conductor: Mykola Hobdych
  • Running Time: 8 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007

>Silvestrov, Valentin : Spiritual Refrains (2), for chorus
  • Performer: Ernest Biekirov (Voice)
  • Conductor: Mykola Hobdych
  • Running Time: 7 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2008

>Silvestrov, Valentin : Spiritual Songs (2), for chorus
  • Conductor: Mykola Hobdych
  • Running Time: 5 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007

>Silvestrov, Valentin : Spiritual Songs (3), for chorus
  • Performer: Oleksander Biloshapka (Voice)
  • Conductor: Mykola Hobdych
  • Running Time: 7 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2006