[ ECM / CD ]
Release Date: Monday 1 October 2018
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Released in time for the great Ukrainian composer's 80th birthday on September 30, Hieroglyphen der Nacht features Valentin Silvestrov's music for solo violoncello and for two cellos. German cellist Anja Lechner has had a long association with Silvestrov, first documented on the Grammy-nominated leggiero, pesante in 2001. Here she plays, alone, Augenblicke der Stille und Traurigkeit (of which she is the dedicatee), Lacrimosa, Walzer der Alpengöckchen, and Elegie (which calls for her to play both cello and tamtams). Lechner is joined by French cellist Agnès Vestermann, a frequent duo partner, to play Drei Stücke (dedicated to both musicians), 8.VI. 1810…zum Geburtstag R.A. Schumann, Zwei Serenaden, and 25.X.1893…zum Andenken an P.I. Tschaikowskij. As so often with Silvestrov, the compositions often take the form of metaphorical conversations with composers of the past and the present. Tchaikovsky and Schumann are amongst the composers referenced here, while Lacrimosa is a reaction to music of his friend Tigran Mansurian. "My own music is a response to and an echo of what already exists," says Silvestrov, viewing his oeuvre as a series of "codas" to music history. Hieroglyphen der Nacht was recorded at Lugano's Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, and produced by Manfred Eicher.
Gramophone Award Nomination 2018 - Contemporary
"Like John Cage and especially Morton Feldman, Silvestrov seeks to expose the surprisingly large world afforded by smaller, more circumscribed sounds - often little more than musical hieroglyphs, to use his titular metaphor. Here, his sonic outlook is reduced to mostly solo cello: even those pieces on which Anja Lechner is joined by a second cellist, the two instruments are meant to be played as if one, 'four hand' style. On 'Elegie', sibilant tam-tams are used softly, lending subtle depth behind her sparse cello line; but otherwise it's an inventive journey through a single instrument's melancholy sound-world. In 'Echo Of A Waltz', the second of 'Drei Stucke', her tentative, prickly pizzicato evokes a predatory insect positioning its most deadly attack, while in the elegiac 'Moments Of Silence And Sadness', similarly furtive triplets provide an intermittent anchoring figure for her quietly exploratory bowed part." The Independent
"Listeners familiar with the benign beauty that imbues much of Silvestrov's sacred choral works will be in for quite a shock. The opening Drei Stucke and three-movement Elegie belong to a very different world to the composer's liturgical songs and Alleluia settings…[The Elegie is] brilliantly performed by seasoned Silvestrov cellist Anja Lechner." Gramophone
"Silvestrov presents compositional tour de force in this intriguing programme…this musical concoction somehow casts a magical spell, drawing you into the intimacy of Silvestrov's musical language and holding your attention throughout the disc. Undoubtedly the extraordinary rapport that exists between Anja Lechner and Agnes Vestermann plays a considerable role in all this." BBC Music
8.VI. 1810…zum Geburtstag R.A. Schumann
Augenblicke der Stille und Traurigkeit
Augenblicke einer Serenade
25.X.1893…zum Andenken an P.I. Tschaikowskij
Walzer der Alpenglöckchen