Knaifel, Alexander - Blazhenstva

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"Det är ett stilla, nästan stillastående, och andäktigt vackert verk för solister, kör och orkester med drag av ryskortodox liturgi och Pärt och Gorecki."
(Nerikes Allehanda)

The Music
The album juxtaposes pieces for very small and large forces in a fascinating manner. While the heavy chords in "Lamento" for solo cello tend to evoke an almost orchestral density of sound, the subtle sonic hues of "Blazhenstva" for soloists, orchestra and choir often verge toward silence. The 18-minute cello piece, an important example of Knaifel's expressive early style, depicts an impressive development between vehement rage and transcendent tranquillity. Towards the end the male player is asked to sing with closed mouth in the cello register. "Lamento" was written in 1967 when the composer, originally a cellist himself, was still studying in Leningrad. It was revised twenty years later and dedicated to the memory of the influential Russian choreographer Leonid Jacobson who had died in 1975.
"Blazhenstva" was composed in 1996 and is dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich, Knaifel's former teacher and mentor. Representative of Knaifel's mature style it is a very sparse and completely quiet score of 37 minutes in slow tempo throughout. Relinquishing all ornamental elements it creates an incomparable sonic space of almost narcotic intensity. The biblical verse - sung in Russian - are set for solo voices and different choral groups and enhanced by extensive string interludes. "Feasible comprehension of these immeasurable words seemed to me the best gift to the 70th anniversary of the great musician and great person Mstislav Rostropovich", writes Knaifel in a short note for the present recording.

Artist Background
Alexander Knaifel was born in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in 1943 and grew up in St. Petersburg where he has lived ever since. A member of the Soviet avant-garde in his early years - alongside Schnitte, Gubaidulina, Denisov, Pärt, Kancheli, Silvestrov and others - he was also influenced by the Second Viennese School and Shostakovich. In the 1970s his expressive and partially experimental style changed radically, introducing a new sense of economical reduction and concentration on sound. The works of the 1990s mirror Knaifel's intense preoccupation with religious themes. In addition to his more than 70 works in many genres, he has written music for more than 40 feature films and documentaries.

Ivan Monighetti, born in 1944, was Mstislav Rostropovich's last student at the Moscow Conservatory and took awards at numerous international competitions. Next to his collaborations with many leading contemporary composers such as Penderecki, Xenakis, Dutilleux, Schnittke, Tan Dun, Gubaidulina or Valentin Silvestrov he is founding director of the Moscow Early Music festival and a highly respected expert in the field of historically informed performance practice. A professor at the Basle Musikakademie, Monighetti has recorded widely for different labels and is a regular guest at major festivals and soloist with leading international orchestras.

Ivan Moninghetti, violoncello, piano, conductor
Tatiana Melentieva, soprano
Piotr Migunov, bass
State Hermitage Orchestra
Lege Artis Choir

Artikelnummer ECM1957
Streckkod 0028947667674
Utgivningsdatum 2008-09-26
Kategori Klassiskt
Skivbolag ECM
Enhet CD
Antal enheter 1
Kompositörer Knaifel, Alexander
Disk: 1
1 Lamento for violoncello solo (1967, rev. 1987) 18:16
2 Blazhenstva (The Beatitudes) for soloists, orchest 36:44
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