VYACHESLAV ARTYOMOV (b.1940): Requiem.
Catalogue Number: 11U062
Label: Divine Art
Reference: dda 25173
Description: The Requiem, from the mid-1980s, played a major part in establishing Artyomov's reputation both in the soon-to-collapse Soviet Union and abroad, and no wonder. If ever there were a composer destined to write a grandiose, technicolor requiem it is Artyomov, as anybody who has followed the series of symphonic works we've offered over the past several years can attest (11S069, 11S070, 07U061 etc.). Artyomov sets the traditional Latin Mass text, with no additional material, and the work's sense of infinite lamentation is only heightened by the composer's dedication to "the martyrs of long- suffering Russia”, which hints at an historical and personal subtext not explicit in the text. The composer's idiom is, as usual, grounded in tonality, with telling excursions into extreme dissonance and a kind of sonorist approach to texture (with huge orchestral and choral forces, and organ, extravagantly employed). The piece begins with a profound sense of unease and tension, which transforms into tragedy and lament throughout the Dies irae sequence - which is not all apocalyptic histrionics, though it has its fair share of those, typically driven by pounding ostinati and infested with clangorous bells and raucous fanfares; much of the choral writing is distinguished by descending chromatic or gliding motifs, suggesting incessant weeping and despair. There are, however, also extended episodes of glorious lyricism and radiance - tragic in the first half; attempting a degree of consolation in the chant-like Offertorium with its keening interjections, the Sanctus and the final, transfigurative and resurrective In Paradisum (though not so much in the terrifying intervening Libera Me, which as in Britten's War Requiem is in a sense the spiritual nadir of the work). A powerful, compelling experience, with moments of otherworldly beauty, and imbued with the sense of cosmic grandeur that characterizes Artyomov's best work. Vocal soloists, Sveshnikov Boys’ Chorus, Kaunas State Chorus, Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra; Dmitri Kitaenko.