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Cat. No. CHAN 10106 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10106 - Gubaidulina: Canticle of the Sun/ Homage à Marina Tsvetayeva
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Available From: 13 October 2003
"When in the first decade of the twentieth century, pioneering Russian creative artists turned to the sun for inspiration, they saw this theme as a symbol of liberation from turn-of-the-century decadence. In The Canticle of the Sun the power of the sun celebrates two liberating forces: specifically, the dedicatee, Mstislav Rostropovich, who shed light in the darkness of the later Soviet years (Gubaidulina has even spoken of the work embodying his ‘sunny personality’) and more generally, the spiritual sources which the composer has explored through her own musical journey within and beyond Soviet Russia. The Canticle of the Sun is a response to a text by St Francis of Assisi, in which he humbly glorifies the creator. Gubaidulina, aware that the music should not be ostentatious or complicated, suggests the mysteries of creation and humanity through solo cello and percussion, and places St Francis’s text in the restrained mouths of the choir as a kind of wondering response.

The second work on this disc is a setting of five poems by Marina Tsvetayeva for unaccompanied choir. Tsvetayeva was a creative artist from the first half of the twentieth century for whom Gubaidulina has claimed the greatest affinity. The full expressive power of her poetry comes to the fore in the last of the five movements,‘A Garden’. The tragic plea of the poem, ‘For this Hell /…/Grant me a garden/In my old age’, written in 1934 during Tsvetayeva’s Paris exile, stands in this context as a requiem for the poet, who hanged herself in the Soviet maelstrom in 1941.

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Reviews

The Danish National Radio Choir is most compelling, captured in superb sound.
Gramophone on CHAN 10008 (Nørgård)

…sung with bundles of dedicated precision.
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 10008 (Nørgård)

…the performances of both works are outstandingly good. The Danish National Radio Chorus display phenomenal stamina and consistent tonal refinement…
Gramophone on CHAN 9126 (Schnittke)

'In musical terms Gubaidulina's mystic hymn to the creation is an out-of-body experience. Based on poems by St Francis of Assisi, it juxtaposes tingling percussion, Russian-style chorale and the searching voice of a cello, in a sound-world both ancient and modern, distant and intimate, ultra-refined and primeval.'
Financial Times

 

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