Metropolitan HILARION ALFEYEV (b.1966): Stabat Mater for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra, De profundis for Chorus and Orchestra, 3 Canciones de la muerte for Soprano, Guitar and Orchestra, Concerto grosso, Fugue on the B-A-C-H Motif.
Catalogue Number: 04Q086
Reference: PTC 5186 486
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: A leading Orthodox theologian, Alfeyev's early studies were in music, and he has pursued a parallel career as composer throughout the progression of his increasingly prominent role in the Church. In interviews he has made it clear that he regards Bach as the ne plus ultra of the expression of the divine in music, and this reverence is apparent throughout his musical output. The Stabat Mater occupies that fertile middle ground where neo-baroque meets minimalism, with a baroque idiom in which a degree of rhythmic insistence and chord progressions and persistent syncopation that would not be encountered in authentic baroque music regularly occur. The Concerto Grosso, with its baroque ornamentation, and harpsichord continuo is more of an exercise in baroque style, as is the finely wrought, solemn fugue on B-A-C-H, which shares with the grandly uplifting finale of the Stabat Mater a Stokowskian opulence of orchestration. The Canciones, after Lorca, are in a more neo-romantic style, with echoes of Mahler, Zemlinsky and even the Bartók of Bluebeard in its highly chromatic, dark-textured romantic orchestral textures against which the soaring vocal line stands out in vivid chiaroscuro relief. The solemn, exalted De profundis reveals another facet of Alfeyev's musical thinking; an affinity with the New Spirituality movement, especially in the opening passacaglia, a study in dignified ceremonial mourning; the following movements embrace fugal and antiphonal textures, leading to a final cumulative chanted refrain of cumulative magnificence, returning to the tintinnabulary tides of the opening. Latin, Spanish-English texts. Svetlana Kasyan (soprano), Artyom Dervoed (guitar), Moscow Synodal Choir, Russian National Orchestra; Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev.