Valentin Silvestrov – Symphony No. 6

Valentin Silvestrov – Symphony No. 6 / 2007 ECM / 5 Tracks / /

I understand that most individuals that listen to classical music will be familiar with the name Valentin Silvestrov, but there are a number of individuals that read NeuFutur that may not be very familiar. Essentially, Silvestrov is one of the greats in modern Ukraine in the creation of new, classically-themed music. This album marks the sixth Symphony by Silvestrov, which acts as a concluding piece for a cycle that Silvestrov began and continued through the 1980s and 1990s.

This symphony was composed in 1994 and 1995 and was brought to fruition in 2000; 2007 marks the first time that the symphony has been committed to any commercial audio form. “Andantino” is the first composition on the album and the opening blends together dark, atmospheric lines with something present in the real life – the noise, the hustle and bustle of the city. Silvestrov creates a chiaroscuro in these two segments of the track, and allows listeners to follow either path throughout the entirety of the composition. The second composition, “Allegro Moderato”, continues with the inclusion of lighter strings and much deep and dark lines, diverting listeners’ attention continually and not allowing them to correctly assume what approach or which face of Silvestrov will next be present on the composition. A composition that shines even more brightly than the rest of the compositions on this symphony would have to be the forth – “Intermezzo” – a composition that goes forth and really gets into the psyche of the listeners.

During “Intermezzo”, Silvestrov insinuates very thin and very quiet tendrils of music into the listeners ears, building up drama and tension with each subsequent second. The comparison that should be made is when a high school biology teach has a living frog in a boiling pot, turning the water up slowly, until the frog passes on. The five compositions present during this symphony allow for some sense of completion to be given to Silvestrov’s cycle. Taken together, the whole of this cycle will keep listeners involved for the better part of a day merely listening to them and the better part of a year unraveling each and every bit of meaning that Silvestrov has imbued on the compositions on “No. 6” and the rest of the parts. Dissonance mixes with harmony to create an interesting and always fulfilling current interpretation of the classical style.

Rating: 7.0/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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