Valentin Silvestrov Series Continues with Masterwork

This is the second installment of Silvestrov’s music. Like the first, it features Christopher Lyndon-Gee and the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra. Here’s hoping for many more. Valentin Silvestrov has a unique compositional voice, and his music deserves exploration.

This release features his Symphony for Violin and Orchestra. Subtitled “Widmung” (Dedication), this 43-minute masterwork is Silvestrov at his best. It sounds not so much like a symphony, but like a symphony heard long ago and only partially remembered. 

Clouds of sound drift in and out of focus. Silvestrov’s signature smearing of textures is present. This also gives the work a dream-like quality.

Violinist Janusz Wawrowski plays with a delicate sensitivity. His instrument seems to drift through the ensemble. His violin often floats above the orchestra as it slowly transitions from one idea to the next. 

The work is one of memory, a bittersweet look back, with a hopeful look to the future. As I said, classic Silvestrov.

The 1984 Postuludium for Piano and Orchestra is a stronger and more aggressive work. Clouds of sound are an important element in this piece as well. But here they have a hard, steely edge to them. Chords crash down, then gradually evaporate into mist. 

Silvestrov is not just an important Ukranian composer. He’s an important composer of our time. His music should connect with us all. It certainly does with me. Highly recommended. 

Valentin Silvestrov: Symphony for Violin and Orchestra
Postludium for Piano and Orchestra
Janusz Wawrowski, violin; Jurgis Karnavicius, piano
Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra; Christopher Lyndon-Gee, conductor
Naxos 8.574413

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