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Valentin Silvestrov: Silent Songs


Valentin Silvestrov: Silent Songs
zoom imageValentin Silvestrov: Silent Songs 

Valentin Silvestrov: Silent Songs


Valentin Silvestrov: Silent Songs
Price $27.98

Silvestrov has the uncanny ability to concentrate your attention on music that's almost entirely slow paced and rendered at levels that rarely rise above pianissimo. Nowhere is that gift more evident that in his Silent Songs, a cycle of 24 songs for baritone and piano with texts drawn from a wide variety of poets from Pushkin, Shelley, and Mandelstam to the less familiar, at least to American audiences (Tyutchev and Zhukovsky). The songs have a deceptive simplicity; the texts illuminated by chaste, lovely, instantly appealing melodies, but the musical journeys of each song have an adventurous complexity that reveals even greater depths with repeated hearings. To say these performances are sympathetic would be a gross understatement. Although Sergey Yakovenko is asked to sing sotto voce throughout, and in a cruelly high tessitura for a baritone, he is superb, singing with a commitment and inwardness that draws the listener in. Pianist Ilya Scheps has Silvestrov's unique idiom in his fingers, and his postludes, some of them extensive, are summations of each song's meaning. Silvestrov himself accompanies Yakovenko in the Mandelstam cycle of four songs, a radiant close to a set of ethereal beauty. --Dan Davis
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