- Composer: Aleksandr Knaifel
- Audio CD (19 Dec. 2008)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: ECM New Series
- ASIN: B000066IDK
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 497,594 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Originally a cellist, Knaifel studied with Rostropovich and Fischmann, and has an obvious affinity for string writing. In In Air Clean and Unseen (1994), inspired by verses of 19th century Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev, strings and piano seem to "sing" together, uniquely. The Keller Quartet play with the same intense conviction and imagination they brought to their prize-winning ECM recordings of string music of Kurtág and Bach's "Die Kunst der Fuge".
The title piece Svete Tikhiy (O Gladsome Light), one of a series of Knaifel's works from the 1990s based upon canonical texts of the Russian Orthodox church service, is dedicated to his close friend Giya Kancheli. As with Kancheli, much of Knaifel's music is motivated by a non-denominational religious feeling. Born into a Jewish family, attracted by the Orthodox church but also by Buddhism, Knaifel aims to convey something of the heart of faith by "speaking in a low voice, hoping to hear a voice within oneself." Many of his pieces share a "meditative" character that will delight listeners of Arvo Pärt or John Tavener. In Svete Tikhiy, Tatiana Melentieva delivers an extraordinary, almost hypnotic vocal performance, which Knaifel describes as "radiant, touching, heart-dilating".
In preparation are ECM recordings of Knaifel's choral music and Amicta Sole/Psalm 51 with Mstislav Rostropovich, St Petersburg Hermitage Orchestra and Lege Artis Chamber Choir. ECM previously recorded Knaifel's, 'Lux Aeterna', in 1999 by cellists Thomas and Patrick Demenga - to critical acclaim. Classic CD: "Knaifel's piece has the simplicity and stillness of Arvo Pärt, displaying a rapt religious intensity".
Recorded 1997 and 2000
Keller Quartett: András Keller, János Pilz - (violin), Zoltán Gál - (viola), Judit Szabó - (violoncello), Oleg Malov - (piano), Tatiana Melentieva - (soprano), Andrei Siegle - (sampler)