Kiev Chamber Choir/ Mykola Hobdych


Silvestro: Sacred Songs ECM New Series***

Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov had long made a feature of memory effects. He writes music that appears to carry its own haze of the past with it, ready-made and evocative, a past which in the choral works here – Songs for Vespers and Three Spiritual Songs (both 2006), Psalms and Prayers, Two Psalms of David, and Two Spiritual Songs (all 2007), and Two Spiritual Refrains (2008) – cycles, recycles and drifts like a cloud of obsessive memories that the mind’s ear simply cannot shake off. The sound world is that of the Orthodox Church, and the pieces are even constructed with an effect of internal acoustic smearing to ensure they deliver the lingering trails of a large, reverberant space. If you heard and liked Silvestrov’s indulgent piano improvisations in Drogheda in 2009, this disc of choral gorgeousness taken to extremes may be just the thing for you.

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