on 22 October 2005
This is my first CD of V.Silvestrov's songs and I enjoy it very much.I own his several discs of instrumental music and they are simply great.I can recommend them to everyone who is interested in XX century music.Along with Arvo Part,Alfred Schnittke,Sofia Gubaidulina and Gya Kancheli,Valentin Silvestrov is one of the most prominent of composers that emerged from the former Soviet Union at the end of 80's(thanks to Gidon Kremer's performances).
"Stufen" is a song cycle for piano and soprano.It's quiet,sad,nostalgic,but very beautiful music,sometimes reminding Mahler.The disc ends with two solo piano pieces performed by the composer himself.
I wouldn't recommend this CD as a starter to get acquainted with Silvestrov's music("Leggiero,Pesante" is excellent for this purpose),but it certainly deserves the highest recomendation for those seeking to expand their collection.
on 29 July 2007
One of a number of song-cycles, Silvestrov initially composed the Stufen in the early eighties but revised it following his wife's death in 1996, which is the version heard on this release appended with two musically related solo piano pieces.
He seems to want his songs to be performed in a somewhat subdued manner, almost absent-mindedly, as if sung at home on a lazy afternoon. And so they are on this disc by Jana Ivanilova accompanied by pianist Alexei Lubimov on a suitably muffled recording. The music is very lyrical and completely tonal; apart from the manner of performance they could easily have been composed in say Schubert's time. Silvestrov does have an ear for a good tune, for example My Soul is a particularly beautiful song. All poems except one by Keats were written by famous Russians and each song is dedicated to one of Silvestrov's music friends. Both words and music have this dreamy melancholic quality, a mood consistently maintained throughout this 70-odd minute disc, which is perfectly alright if you're in that mood yourself, otherwise it's a touch one-sided as a listening experience.