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The words of these sacred songs are from the ancient texts of the Orthodox liturgy comprising vespers, psalms, prayers and spiritual songs. Composed between 2006 and 2008, Silvestrov’s music can in no way be called modern nor is it derivative of any particular genre; it slots seamlessly into an ancient tradition with a simplicity that is reverential and deeply moving. The harmonies echo and re-echo, drifting away into almost nothingness in the astounding acoustics of St Michael’s Cathedral, Kiev. The women’s voices play a prominent part, the men providing an underlying resonance in a un-Tavener-like manner. When the very talented soloists (drawn from the choir) have the melody, the rest of the choir provides a gentle decoration around it. Kiev Chamber Choir produces a rich, lush sound without any trace of vibrato which is ideally suited to the repertoire; it is a joy to listen to. Under their director, the singers perform with exemplary phrasing and musicianship.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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