Valentin Silvestrov: Leggiero, Pesante

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
There is an air of mystery surrounding almost every note from Valentin Silvestrov b. 1937. His String Quartet No. 1 1974, for instance, included on this valuable collection of the Ukrainian composer's chamber music, begins with a delicate and haunting melody. At first disjointed and hesitant, the music sounds, if anything, like the recollection of a song heard long ago. The intensity slowly builds, though, reaching passages of violent, cutting gestures from the violin, but by the end, the ghostly stillness of the opening has returned. Silvestrov's Sonata for Cello and Piano 1983, too, has long periods of calm interrupted by outbursts of activity. The coloristic wash of ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
There is an air of mystery surrounding almost every note from Valentin Silvestrov b. 1937. His String Quartet No. 1 1974, for instance, included on this valuable collection of the Ukrainian composer's chamber music, begins with a delicate and haunting melody. At first disjointed and hesitant, the music sounds, if anything, like the recollection of a song heard long ago. The intensity slowly builds, though, reaching passages of violent, cutting gestures from the violin, but by the end, the ghostly stillness of the opening has returned. Silvestrov's Sonata for Cello and Piano 1983, too, has long periods of calm interrupted by outbursts of activity. The coloristic wash of sound produced by the piano's pedal gives the music an unearthly, disquieting air, and when we finally reach the aching cello-led melody about 12½ minutes in, it's almost as if a nightmare has passed and a whole new dream world has opened up. Yet the eerie conclusion fades away with high-pitched cries from the cello and an ominous low strumming on the piano. The three Postludes 1981-82, for combinations of soprano, violin, cello, and piano, are similarly evocative and slow paced, while "Hymn 2001" brings the disc to a fitting close with the composer quietly musing alone at the piano. The Rosamunde Quartet and company play with great sensitivity and commitment, and ECM's engineering is a model of spaciousness and clarity. Warmly recommended, especially for those who want a taste of good new music but don't want it to bite back too hard.
All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Valentin Silvestrov is hardly a household name in the United States; however, in the Ukraine, he enjoys a similar standing to that of his Estonian counterpart Arvo Pärt. But that is where the resemblance ends. Whereas Pärt in his holy minimalism reinvents techniques that derive from Renaissance practice, Silvestrov's roots are planted in late Romanticism. His music is steeped in all of the emotion and drama that such a stylistic association would imply. "Leggiero, pesante" is a collection of Silvestrov's chamber music, and as an introduction to the musical world of Silvestrov, this ECM New Series release admirably fits the bill. Most impressive are the performances of the "Sonata for violoncello and piano" 1983 and the third "Postludium" by cellist Anja Lechner and pianist Silke Avenhaus. In these works, Silvestrov strives toward a synthetic union between the two instruments. Lechner and Avenhaus achieve this end spectacularly well and manage to blanket the performances in an emotional sensitivity that gives voice to Silvestrov's intentions, yet retains the personality of the performers. Also noteworthy is the Rosamunde Quartet's transparent interpretation of Silvestrov's "String Quartet No. 1" 1974 and the composer's own delightful, occasionally hesitant reading of a new work, "Hymn 2001." Somewhat less engaging is the first two of the "Three Postludes." These works are so wispy and fragmentary that they seem a bit undernourished, although they are in keeping with the rest of the music here. This disc is recommendable on many fronts, but especially so to listeners who find contemporary music scary and out of touch. "Leggiero, pesante" will likely prove both challenging and pleasing to those who take the plunge. The ECM recording is spacious, but not to the extent that it robs this chamber music of its intimacy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/18/2002
  • Label: Ecm Import
  • UPC: 028946189825
  • Catalog Number: 461898
  • Sales rank: 57,706

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Sonata for cello & piano - Valentin Silvestrov & Silke Avenhaus (22:11)
  2. 2 String Quartet No. 1 - Valentin Silvestrov & Rosamunde Quartett (21:16)
  3. 3–5 Postludes (3) for various ensembles - Valentin Silvestrov & Silke Avenhaus (20:33)
  4. 4 Hymn 2001, for piano - Valentin Silvestrov & Valentin Silvestrov (6:27)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Silke Avenhaus Primary Artist
Rosamunde Quartett Ensemble
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