Valentin Silvestrov is one of the most stimulating post-modern composers on the new classical music scene. His music is at once harmonically demanding, rhythmically simple, and extraordinarily captivating. Silvestrov is a kind of cross between Arvo Pärt and Anton Webern.
His style, which combines repetitive minimalism with orchestrations worthy of a full-bodied and copious Webern, transports any listener who dares to experience a world where time seems distended, like an immense black lake standing still under the gaze of a discreet moon, where the slightest phrase becomes an echo that does not die but rather remains suspended and blends in with what follows. In Silvestrov’s work, the past is a present that announces the future!
Tranquil, mysterious, mesmerizing, confusing, even destabilizing, but above all irresistibly fascinating, this music is essential for anyone who loves artistic proposals, acoustic or electronic, contemporary classical or art-rock, which defy the agreed notions of temporality and attention in musical listening.
Ode to A Nightingale is the piece that most closely resembles Webern in terms of orchestration and Morton Feldman for the repetitive structure of the basic motif.
The Piano Concertino and Symphony No. 7 are my favourite pieces on the program. All the basic Silvestrovian elements are there, with a discreet but richer orchestral amplitude.
Don’t be surprised to hear, here and there, some almost Mozartean passages, sprinkled softly through some of the scores. Silvestrov loves to create short, subtle, unexpected landmarks like these. If a soundtrack vibrates ad infinitum as it accompanies a cosmic traveller through a black hole to go beyond known time and space, this is the one!