Thursday, November 18, 2010

Valentin Silvestrov - Requiem for Larissa

2004; 7 tracks
Vladimir Sirenko / National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine

"Silvestrov's Requiem for Larissa is a poignant tribute to the memory of his late wife, a bitterly-wrought mourning piece that transcends his individual grief to strike a universal chord. Its seven movements are played without pause, utilizing a large chorus and orchestra, piano, and a synthesizer. Its text is the traditional, though fragmented, Latin Requiem, along with an excerpt from a grim poem, 'The Dream,' by the Ukranian poet Taras Shevchenko.

This last constitutes the haunting fourth movement, the sung words, a 'farewell to earth,' set to a slow pianissimo folklike melody that stays in the memory. The next movement, the Agnus Dei, includes extended Mozartian solos for violin, its postlude a moving depiction of unearthly peace. The final two movements are a reprised variation of what has come before, from the hieratic opening drenched in sorrow to a Tuba mirum that rages against the dying of the light. The last sounds we hear are the gentle rustlings of the wind, as Nature washes away grief. Silvestrov's sound world is unique, as is this modern masterpiece" - someone

"While Silvestrov's inspiration is the Latin mass for the dead so widely set in the classical tradition, this is no typical requiem. There's a 'Requiem eternam' and a 'Lacrimosa', but only a few isolated words are selected from the traditional text. There is no 'Dies irae', and no wonder, as who wants to think about one's departed loved one being judged? The work is generally symmetrical. The opening and closing portions of the work are typical of Silvestrov's late orchestral music, with that special lush yet grim lake of sound. At one moment in each of these two framing portions, however, we are treated to a beautiful bit where strings playing harmonics dialogue with flutes.

The middle section, however, will be for many listeners the emotional heart of the world. Here Silvestrov leaves behind the Latin mass and includes a setting of Taras Shevchenko's poem saying goodbye to the world." - Christopher Culver

Requiem for Larissa, for mixed choir & chorus, is a genuinely moving piece of modern classical music... I cannot express how beautiful this is.



Post a Comment

Popular Posts