LEBRECHT LISTENS | Silvestrov’s Requiem Is An Excellent Work Of Artwork In Our Troubled Time

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L-R: Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov in 2009 (Photograph: Smerus/CC BY-SA 3.0); Valentin Silvestrov on the Worldwide Shostakovich Pageant in Kurort Gohrisch, Germany on July 1, 2022 (Photograph: Solobratscher/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Silvestrov: Requiem für Larissa (BR Klassik)

★★★★★

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In Might 1996, the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov was knowledgeable that his spouse, the musicologist Larissa Bondarenko, had died instantly and unexpectedly in a hospital in Kyiv. The shock silenced him for a number of months. After a protracted whereas he started writing a Requiem in her reminiscence, jumbling the normal Catholic order of actions acquainted from so many classical works and infrequently breaking off in mid-phrase, as if too distracted to proceed.

Dwelling beneath Soviet management, Silvestrov developed a number of methods to confuse the authorities and reduce by to a sympathetic viewers. He created an unmistakable individuality out of a heterodoxy of neoclassicism, post-tonality, collage, minimalism and selective use of electronics.

The second motion of this Requiem engages an amplified synthesizer to stunning and surreal impact. Amid the stylistic chaos, an environment emerges that’s akin to the Final Judgment in Gustav Mahler’s second symphony, a confrontation of a lone human being with our final second.

The solo passages on this hourlong could also be a singer or a concertmaster’s violin, however there’s by no means any doubt that the solo represents every one among us in our most intimate and ineffable second. A melody sparkles from Mozart to Webern to Theremin, Stockhausen and Philip Glass. The composer, creator of confusion, is absolute grasp. He speaks: we pay attention. There isn’t any decision. I’m gripped and shaken extra with every successive listening to.

A 2001 Kyiv premiere on ECM Data, vivid as it’s, is altogether eclipsed by this 2021 efficiency by the Munich radio orchestra and the BR refrain, carried out by Andres Mustonen. The Requiem comes over as an excellent murals of our troubled instances. I can’t perceive why we haven’t heard it in Salzburg, Lucerne, Tanglewood or the BBC Proms. This coming summer time can be second, within the horrible shadow of the Ukraine warfare.

Silvestrov fled his homeland with some issue quickly after the outbreak of warfare. Aged 85, he lives now as a refugee in Germany.

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