Vyacheslav Artyomov paints with clouds of sound in Sola fide

There’s only one way to fully appreciate the genius of Vyacheslav Artyomov. You have to listen to everything he’s written.

Case in point: this third Divine Art release features Solo Fide: scenes from the ballet after Tolstoy’s “Road to Calvary.” But Solo Fide isn’t just a suite of ballet numbers. It’s parts three and four of a massive five-part ballet-requiem. And parts of that work are shared with Artyomov’s Requiem.

That’s not to say the suites don’t work as stand-alone compositions. They do. The forces assembled are the same as one might expect for a requiem mass — four soloists, choir, and orchestra.

Tolstoy’s story, as adapted for the ballet, centers on the death of the Poet. The Poet, a metaphor for culture, also strongly resembles Christ in his martyrdom. Although the story may be heavily cloaked in metaphor, the choir and soloists sing portions of the Latin requiem mass.

Mixed with the orchestral movements, these settings take on a different function. The Latin text brings historical weight to the grief it expresses, coloring the decidedly contemporary context of the music.

Artyomov masterfully uses bold swatches of orchestral color. The instrumental lines slowly diverge chromatically, presenting a smear of sound that makes the emotional content even more visceral.

The album also includes “Tempo costante” from 1970. Artyomov writes that it “plays with an idea of unchangeable, eternal Time.” Over an unrelenting pulse, Artymov constructs a work that seems somehow fluid in its meter.

And although it’s an effective composition, Tempo costante is part of a set. This work based on the concept of unchanging time prompted Artymov to write companion work. The Symphony of Elegies, with evokes “the total disappearance of time.”

This is volume three of Divine Art’s reissue series from Melodya. Collect them all.

Vyacheslav Artyomov

Sola Fide (Only by Faith): Scenes from the ballet after Tolstoy’s “Road to Calvary” –  Inna Polianskaya, soprano; Elmira Kugusheva, mezzo-soprano; Aleksey Martinov, tenor; Mikhail Lanskoi, baritone; Kunas State Choir; Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow State Philharmonic; Dmitri Kitaenko, conductor

Tempo Consante – Moscow Chamber Orchestra “Musica Viva”; Murad Annamamedov, conductor
Divine Art DDA 25164

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