David's Review Corner
, March 2011
Born in 1960, the Ukrainian composer, Alexander Shchetynsky, has worked in many classical fields, this disc apparently the first on international release. Though the back insert gives a bewildering description of his style of composition, it should have simply said that this is music which falls easily on the ear and will readily lodge in the memory. Stylistically it belongs to that group of composers of which Arvo Part in Estonia and the British-born John Taverner have become the most frequently mentioned names. The disc’s opening work, Know Yourself, is largely built around 18th century Christian texts to form a ‘Symphony for mixed a cappella choir’, the twelve short sections creating a score well over half an hour. Beauty, long-flowing melody and musical urgency; solos mix with choral sections, and the work ends in that quiet hypnotic quality that is now so fashionable. That piece dates from 2006, and we move back in time to the 1980’s when Shchetynsky began work on Light to Lighten, and there are hints of his interest at that time in the Second Viennese School. The Requiem is cast in the conventional six sections and is to be sung in Latin. It avoids the ‘death and damnation’ of the Dies irae, and is generally in the style of the disc’s first work. Once again I would beg of you not to get bogged-down by printed descriptions, but to accept this as a highly attractive modern view at a well-known text. It is for mixed choir and string orchestra and, as with all three works, it is performed by the artists who gave the world premiere. Obviously a benchmark recording beautifully engineered.