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Valentin Silvestrov: Requiem for Larissa


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Valentin Silvestrov: Requiem for Larissa + Valentin Silvestrov: Sacred Works + Valentin Silvestrov: Sacred Songs
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Product details

  • Conductor: Vladimir Sirenko
  • Composer: Valentin Silvestrov
  • Audio CD (31 Dec. 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM New Series
  • ASIN: B000062V5F
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,174 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Largo
2. Adagio - Moderato - Allegro
3. Largo - Allegro Moderato
4. Largo
5. Andante - Moderato
6. Largo
7. Allegro Moderato

Product Description

As per title

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Larry L. Looney on 20 Feb. 2007
Format: Audio CD
I read a review of this once that asked the question 'Is death like this?' and goes on to call this work a 'terrible' requiem. Respecting this person's opinion, I would gently suggest that Silvestrov had no intention of composing a 'traditional' requiem. In 1992, Silvestrov composed a piece entitled METAMUSIK, a symphony for piano and orchestra. Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich, in his notes accompanying the ECM release of METAMUSIK and POSTLUDIUM, says '...the Greek syllable META signalises the crossing of a threshold, the existence of a world beyond...a catharsis that finds peace, not through conflict, but by letting go.'

REQUIEM FOR LARISSA is one of the most astonishing -- and beautiful -- pieces of music I've ever heard. Silvestrov has given voice to the soul-wrenching feelings of grief and loss that washed over him after the sudden death of his wife Larissa -- but as we listen to this amazing work, we can also hear the composer's struggle to process these emotions, to heal, to continue with life.

The REQUIEM is indeed dark and black -- but there are many rays of light (not only in the 5th movement cited by the other reviewer). Silvestrov has metamorphosed beyond his grief -- and his work has, and continues to, metamorphose beyond the false boundaries that have been imposed on music and composition. These boundaries exist only as long as we allow them to exist. It is thanks to visionaries like Valentin Silvestrov, Giya Kancheli, Arvo P'rt, Peteris Vasks, Alfred Schnittke, Veljo Tormis and others of their generation that the boundaries which inspired them have begun to crumble.

This is a stunning, moving work -- I give it (as well as the aforementioned METAMUSIK / POSTLUDIUM and his incredibly intimate song cycle SILENT SONGS) my highest recommendation.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ivar de Vries on 28 July 2007
Format: Audio CD
Practically every release of Silvestrov's music issued since the unexpected death in 1996 of his wife Larissa has been dedicated to her memory. This one is no different and presents a recording of the Requiem he started composing straight after the tragic event. Not a requiem in the traditional sense of the word (although some of the Latin text is used) it's a work of many moods remembering works from their whole period together.
The first two sections recall the Postludium of 1984, a dark Mahlerian piece now with separate parts for male and female choir from the composer's native Ukraine. This mood continues but turns more angel-like in the following section with a number of wistful arias for contralto and tenor and more lyrical instrumentation. Next up is one of his Silent Songs dating from the seventies re-scored for the forces assembled here, followed by an almost joyous Mozartian piece, which is his piano-piece Der Bote here transcribed for solo violin and choir in addition to the piano, a touching remembrance of happier times. The last two sections recall the darker mood of the start and have some more of the synth sounds employed unobtrusively at various points throughout this work.
This is another vivid ECM recording in their ongoing Silvestrov series and, not having much in the way of new music, perhaps a touch superfluous but obviously of high importance to the composer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nobody TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 April 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have to agree with the other two reviewers about this work. It is also a good place to start if you want to explore Silvestrov's choral and vocal music of which he has written a considerable amount since the death of his wife.

As a tribute and a way of dealing with his grief, this is a very powerful work. Given that his musical language tends to provide echoes of distant events in his other works, the question was always going to be how he could process something so close and personal with that style. His solution has worked very effectively with the outer movements, using dark orchestral hues with the occasional stab of grief hinted it at by the piano in an effective and understated way. This music has much in common with the sixth symphony - a work of dark foreboding and redemption.

The central movements quote his own previous music with the fourth being a resetting of one of his silent songs - sounding very slavic and liturguical. The following movement, resetting his music "Der Bote", sounds like Mozart but is completely Silvestrov's own material. It may seem an odd piece to insert but the biographical element is the main reason for its inclusion: it was the last work of his that his wife ever heard. It amounts to a distant and happy memory for the two of them.

As with so much of Silvestrov's music, the restraint and lack of any rhetoric is what gives the music such power. Add to that, the personal nature of this work and it is difficult not to be moved. The scoring is as luminous as his great fifth and sixth symphonies and the performance by choir and orchestra first rate. Once again ECM have provided top class and sympathetic sound quality for the work. This is another five star recording to add to all the others in the ECM Silvestrov series.
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By Livvy on 7 Mar. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This piece, written in memory of his wife, has a clarity and a sincerity that speaks directly to the listener. It is beautiful and beautifully performed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
PROCESSING GRIEF 2 Dec. 2004
By Larry L. Looney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A reviewer below asks the question 'Is death like this?' and goes on to call this work a 'terrible' requiem. Respecting this person's opinion, I would gently suggest that Silvestrov had no intention of composing a 'traditional' requiem. In 1992, Silvestrov composed a piece entitled METAMUSIK, a symphony for piano and orchestra. Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich, in his notes accompanying the ECM release of METAMUSIK and POSTLUDIUM, says '...the Greek syllable META signalises the crossing of a threshold, the existence of a world beyond...a catharsis that finds peace, not through conflict, but by letting go.'

REQUIEM FOR LARISSA is one of the most astonishing -- and beautiful -- pieces of music I've ever heard. Silvestrov has given voice to the soul-wrenching feelings of grief and loss that washed over him after the sudden death of his wife Larissa -- but as we listen to this amazing work, we can also hear the composer's struggle to process these emotions, to heal, to continue with life.

The REQUIEM is indeed dark and black -- but there are many rays of light (not only in the 5th movement cited by the other reviewer). Silvestrov has metamorphosed beyond his grief -- and his work has, and continues to, metamorphose beyond the false boundaries that have been imposed on music and composition. These boundaries exist only as long as we allow them to exist. It is thanks to visionaries like Valentin Silvestrov, Giya Kancheli, Arvo Pärt, Peteris Vasks, Alfred Schnittke, Veljo Tormis and others of their generation that the boundaries which inspired them have begun to crumble.

This is a stunning, moving work -- I give it (as well as the aforementioned METAMUSIK / POSTLUDIUM and his incredibly intimate song cycle SILENT SONGS) my highest recommendation.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Vacuum of Death 16 Jun. 2010
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Valentin Silvestrov is slowly gaining the audience he so justly deserves. The Ukranian composer (born 1937) has suffered form attacks for his compositional style from both his country's historical origin and form critics who claim he has not create a new language, apparently a quality that is necessary to judge him as a significant 20th century composer. But for those who have discovered his particular range of expressivity this recording of his 'Requiem for Larissa' (texts from the Mass, Taras Shevchenko), mixed chorus, orchestra, 1997-99 will satisfy that sense that his work is not only viable, it is also profoundly moving.

The Requiem is not the usual template used by the church, but instead incorporates only those section of the requiem mass that speak to loss and sadness, add the poetry of Shevchenko to speak the rest. A series of slow dark movements - largos, andantes, adagios - are very slowly traversed with an orchestration that allows the timbre of the piano and the synthesizer to be at its base at time and creates clouds of tonal clusters to create the atmosphere of complete and utter loss. His choral writing is very strong with keenly devised separations of the male and female voices while, though massed, seem like single outcries. When he adds the solo voice as in the 4th movement (the Shevchenko poem 'The Dream') he embroiders the solo with choral incantations and wordless music that approaches folksong sounds - perhaps the most personal movement of this great work. This is a work of profound beauty, a farewell to the composer's wife, and to listen to these epic work could not fail but touch the heart of anyone who has lost a loved one.

Vladimir Sirenko conducts the National Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Ukraine with a fine sense of architecture and respect for the mystery that lies in the silences Silvestrov has so adeptly placed throughout the work. The recording from ECM is clear of surface and rich in sonority. This is a recording to cherish. Grady Harp, June 10
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Silvestrov applies his late style to mourning for his late wife 31 July 2008
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov has certainly created for himself a unique soundworld in his late career. Believing that creating anything new is increasingly impossible in today's fast-moving modern art, he sees his own niche to be writing "postludes" for what the Romantic era has left us. In these works, harmonies are lush with much respect for common-practice tonality and modality, the atmosphere is subdued, and there's little movement but instead stasis and a feeling that something has been lost. Silvestrov's personal touch are his Webern-like intervals amongst this sea of tonality, and the "Silvestrov halo" where a single gesture is picked up by other instruments and sustained at low dynamic while the ensemble as a whole returns to stasis. The "Requiem for Larissa" (2000), written in memory of the composer's wife, is one of the composer's largest works of this era.

While Silvestrov's inspiration is the Latin mass for the dead so widely set in the classical tradition, this is no typical requiem. There's a "Requiem eternam" and a "Lacrimosa", but only a few isolated words are selected from the traditional text. There is no "Dies irae", and no wonder, as who wants to think about one's departed loved one being judged? The work is generally symmetrical. The opening and closing portions of the work are typical of Silvestrov's late orchestral music, with that special lush yet grim lake of sound. At one moment in each of these two framing portions, however, we are treated to a beautiful bit where strings playing harmonics dialogue with flutes. The middle section, however, will be for many listeners the emotional heart of the world. Here Silvestrov leaves behind the Latin mass and includes a setting of Taras Shevchenko poem saying goodbye to the world. This is all the more poignant because this poem was part of his "Silent Songs", the cycle that helped him overcome his despair at Soviet official disapproval of his music, and his wife was a companion and inspiration through this and, in fact, his entire career.

Unlike some of Silvestrov's unsuccessful pieces, among which I'd place, for example, "Metamusik", I feel there's enough variety in the "Requiem for Larissa" to make it listenable all the way through. However, I do have reservations about Silvestrov's style in general, with so little variation between pieces and the great length of these pieces compared to their musical content. Silvestrov is by no means as vacuous a composer as, say, Einojuhani Rautavaara, but I still worry and so award this disc 3 stars.
19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
But can you handle this cd?????? 25 May 2004
By Michael J. Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Recently reviewed in a major newspaper receiving 4 1/2 out of 5 stars, "Requiem for Larissa" encompasses that hard to find "haunting albeit melodic" modern classical music which hints at and finds its roots in the ancient. Here you will find life, beauty and death. You will find remnants of the afterlife, darkness, hell, purgatory and then heaven. There is no doubt whatsoever that Silvestrov was moved, and deeply so, at the unexpected passing of his wife. His Requiem is just that. A fitting tribute to his lost love. You come away knowing of his sorrow, yet also knowing that the soul of Larissa now flows in a better place and time. Go pay your tributes.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Wow 22 Jan. 2008
By M. Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm no expert on classical music, but when something moves me, I take notice. This is a fine example of how music can express our deepest emotions. The CD reviewed here is filled with pain and sorrow, but done beautifully.
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