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September 30 , 2012

Valentin Silvestrov at 75

In time for the 75th birthday of Valentin Silvestrov on September 30, ECM New Series issues a new album of music from the Ukrainian composer whom the late Alfred Schnittke refererred to as “the greatest composer of our generation”. “Sacred Songs” features the Kiev Chamber Choir under the direction of Mykola Hobdych performing music written by Silvestrov between 2006 and 2008, recorded in St Michael’s Cathedral Kiev. This is the eighth ECM set wholly devoted to Silvestrov’s music and follows “leggiero, pesante”, “Requiem for Larissa”, “Metamusik / Postludium”, “Silent Songs”, “Symphony No. 6”, “Bagatellen und Serenaden”and “Sacred Works”. (Additionally, compositions of Silvestrov can be heard on Alexei Lubimov’s albums “Der Bote” and “Misterioso” as well as Ingrid Karlen’s “Variations” and the Duo Gazzana’s “Five Pieces”).

Silvestrov’s metamusic compositional style emphasises melody as a “small window in the wall between modern and classical music”, as well as the primacy of song: “It seems to me that music is song in spite of everything, even when it is unable to sing in a literal sense. It is not a philosophy, not a system of beliefs, but the song of the world about itself, and at the same time a musical testament to existence.”

Concerts on the occasion of Silvestrov’s birthday are taking place in Kiev.