VALENTIN SILVESTROV (b.1937): 4 Postludes and Epitaph for Piano and String Orchestra, Moments of Poetry and Music for Soprano, Piano and String Orchestra, Moments of Memory III and Hymn-2001 for String Orchestra, Solo Piano: 3 Postludes, Op. 64, 3 Waltzes, Op. 54, 2 Elegies, Op. 60, Moments of Memory II, Op. 27, 3 Waltzes (Valentin Silvestrov [piano]).
Catalogue Number: 02U047
Label: Brilliant Classics
Description: These works - from the early 2000s - all substantially post-date Silvestrov's radical shift into extreme 'new simplicity' as epitomized by Kitsch Music of 1977, and all conform to this aesthetic, "To be played very softly, as if from afar (...), as if barely touching the listener’s memory, so that the music plays inside the conscience of the listener, as if his memory was singing this music itself”. The idea of faded, half-remembered images of past styles is central to the pieces, and their apparent new-agey simplicity of texture and 'basic' tonal harmony is deceptive; the harmony is unpredictable and unstable, and even the simplest, most corny melodies resolutely refuse to resolve in a stable cadence, deceptively shifting into another phrase, and yet another ... All the works are slow and sad, or at least wistful, and they are never quite 'comfortable' or 'relaxing' despite their complete lack of drama; the effect is of leafing through an album of photographs, some faded almost to unrecognisability, and realising that not only are all the people depicted long dead, but the world in which they lived is gone and unretrievable. The tiny waltz-tributes to the 2nd Viennese triumvirate reminds us that Silvestrov was once a ferocious modernist, and derived the economy and brevity of his late style, if not the harmonic language, in no small measure from Webern, and it is pleasantly paradoxical to hear his current idiom applied, here and in two of the Moments of Memory (but nowhere else) to atonal or near-atonal material. Alexei Lubimov (piano), Elise Gäbele (soprano), Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles; Jean-Paul Dessy.