Prices shown exclude VAT. (UK tax is not payable for deliveries to United States.)
See Terms & Conditions for p&p rates.
Valentin Silvestrov: Sacred Songs
Kiev Chamber Choir, Mykola Hobdych
Since 2001, ECM has enthusiastically championed the art of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov with recordings of his orchestral, 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 written between 2006 and 2008 that reflect the composer’s late-blooming interest in writing for voices.
Previous choral releases of Silvestrov on the label were the Requiem for Larissa in memory of the composer’s wife (4721122) and the unaccompanied Sacred Works (4763316). Like the latter album, Sacred Songs features the utterly attuned, even otherworldly performances of Ukraine’s Kiev Chamber Choir under the direction of co-founder Mykola Hobdych, with the recordings made in the resounding air of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, an ancient building recently reconstructed, the acoustic of which is almost a joint performer with the choir.
“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.” International Record Review, December 2012
“The disc reflects a remarkably productive recent period in the composer's life...The music's broadly harmonic conception also takes the music occasionally into unexpected areas, including barbershop, spiritual and jazz.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013
(Sorry, download not available in your country)
In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.
Valentin Silvestrov - Sacred Works
Kiev Chamber Choir, Mykola Hobdytsch
This album of sacred a cappella works from recent years - music of haunting beauty, characterised in turns by calm introspection and serene lightness - offers a fascinating addition to the wide spectrum of works by Valentin Silvestrov on ECM New Series. The imprint, recently named ‘Label of the Year’ in the 2009 Gramophone Awards, has championed the Ukrainian master (born 1937) since 2001, but Sacred Works represents a new development by the composer.
Silvestrov’s compositions for chamber choir have a uniquely transparent sound with otherwordly shifting harmonies and free timing. The pieces were written mostly in 2005/06 on the instigation of chorus master Mykola Hobdych and these ravishing performances – displaying astounding flexibility and polish – are very much “authentic”: the Kiev Chamber Choir have repeatedly studied the pieces with the composer and gave the premières of the majority.
Silvestrov’s interest in the choir came comparatively late. Partly due to conductor Mykola Hobdych’s persistent encouragement, he immersed himself more deeply in the choral world and began to study old Russian litanies. Once he had started reading them, he was so fascinated that he wrote some 40 minutes of music within two weeks. By treating the choir as an ensemble of “extremely modest” soloists and dividing the sections into small groups, Silvestrov acquires unique sonic and harmonic effects and an utmost flexibility of melody and rhythm. Its lyrical fluency and introvert tenderness brings Silvestrov’s choral writing close to his much-lauded Silent Songs, to Requiem for Larissa and his music for solo piano.
“Here is a ravishing collection of a cappella choral works by the Ukrainian Valentin Silvestrov that perfectly illustrates his own description of his music as “a response to and an echo of what already exists”...Acutely sensitive performances by the Kiev Chamber Choir under Mykola Hobdych...ring out with crystalline beauty in the softly resonant acoustic of Kiev’s Cathedral of the Dormition.” Michael Quinn, bbc.co.uk, 18th December 2009
“The opening track sets the tone for the rest of the disc, a haunting setting of the opening litany of the Divine Liturgy in which the choir "shadows" the priest's petitions… The Kiev Chamber Choir under Mykola Hobdych is in its element and the recorded sound does full justice to Silvestrov's alternately ethereal and earthy sound world.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2010
“Hypnotic and startlingly different, this music has cult potential.” The Observer, 22nd November 2009
Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.