Valentin Silvestrov | Sacred Songs | ECM 2279

Valentin Silvestrov | Sacred Songs | ECM 2279
ECM 2279September 2012

Kiev Chamber Choir
Mykola Hobdych: conductor

Since 2001, ECM has enthusiastically championed the art of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov with recordings of his orchestral, chamber and vocal works – creations that stand as some of the most arresting and moving in contemporary music. This continues in Silvestrov’s 75th birthday year with “Sacred Songs”, the seventh album ECM has devoted wholly to the composer’s music; it collects sets of songs, refrains, psalms and prayers composed from 2006 to 2008 that reflect the composer’s late-blooming interest in writing for a cappella voices, which led previously to the ECM releases “Requiem for Larissa” and “Sacred Works”. Like the latter album, “Sacred Songs” features the utterly attuned, even otherworldly performances of Ukraine’s Kiev Chamber Choir under the direction of co-founder Mykola Hobdych, with the recordings made in the resounding air of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, an ancient building recently reconstructed, the acoustic of which is almost a joint performer with the choir. The BBC description of “Sacred Works” just as easily fits the new “Sacred Songs”: “A ravishing collection of a cappella choral works by Silvestrov that perfectly illustrates his own description of his music as ‘a response to and an echo of what already exists’. It is the sheer beauty of sound that catches the ear (...) luminous and lyrical.”