Valentin Silvestrov: Silent Songs - Helene Grimaud

Album cover art for upc 028948641048
Label: DG
Catalog: 4864104
Format: CD

Konstantin Krimmel (Bariton), Helene Grimaud (Klavier)

Almost twenty years have passed since Hélène Grimaud first came across Valentin Silvestrov's Silent Songs, and she has finally found a partner in the sensational young baritone Konstantin Krimmel with whom to perform them. "It is music that touches me deeply in its honesty and transparency. It is poetic. It doesn't pretend to be anything, and has a very special color and texture." This selection was recorded at a concert in the Turbinenhalle at the Stienitzsee just outside Berlin in the summer of 2022, where pianist and composer met for the first time. The cycle Silent Songs, written between 1974 and 1977 to texts by classical poets, marks an important chapter in the work of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov. The controversy it sparked continues to this day. What was extraordinary about the work was not so much its sheer length (a duration of two hours without an intermission was nothing new in early postmodern music); what was surprising was its "traditional" structure and, above all, the fact that it came from the pen of one of the leading representatives of the "Soviet avant-garde" of the time. Silvestrov commented in an interview, "For me, it is not a matter of renouncing positions, but of continuing the most avant-garde movement, which in its previous form has, by and large, reached a point of exhaustion. The 'Still Songs' and my piano cycle 'Kitschmusik' (1977) are silence set to music." The list of Russian classics, Pushkin, Lermontov, Tyutchev, Baratynsky, Zhukovsky, Yesenin and Mandelstam, is joined by the Ukrainian poet Shevchenko (in Ukrainian) and Silvestrov's beloved English romantics Keats and Shelley (in Russian translation). The voices of these very different poets blend here into a new unity, a "harmony of mysterious power," as a line from the Baratynsky poem that opens the Silent Songs says. Reviews

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