Oleg Malov, Tatiana Melentieva, Piotr Migunov & Lege Artis Choir – Knaifel: Lukomoriye (2018) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Oleg Malov, Tatiana Melentieva, Piotr Migunov & Lege Artis Choir – Knaifel: Lukomoriye (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 01:02:39 minutes | 455 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Booklet, Front Cover | © ECM New Series

The fourth New Series album from the St Petersburg-based composer Alexander Knaifel may be his most wide-ranging to date, voyaging from the sacred to the secular and back again via several inspired detours. It includes two Prayers to the Holy Spirit, movingly performed by the Lege Artis Choir. Tatiana Melentieva sings Bliss, based on Alexander Pushkin’s poem, and the great Russian poet is cross-referenced with St Ephraim the Syrian in O Lord of All My Life (A Poem and a Prayer) sung by Piotr Migunov. Oleg Malov, who accompanies both singers, is called upon to internalize texts in four further solo piano pieces. A mad tea party lives up to its title, with a surreal Wonderland spirit. This Child (after the Gospel of St Luke), A Confession and title piece Lukomoriye (both after Pushkin) are luminously quiet, and quietly magical.

Alexander Knaifel (born 1943) is a part of that generation of composers who were born in the Soviet Union, who are now Russian (or dead, or in one case Estonian) and who have turned their hands to avant-garde writing. His colleagues include Denisov, Goubaïboulina, Pärt, Silvestrov and Schnittke. But the Soviet avant-garde didn’t have much in common with the avant-gardist dictatorship of Western Europe, and its musicians were always ready to make use of elements of tonality, of perceptible rhythms, in a never-ending search for expression, rather than novelty for novelty’s sake. After the fall of the Soviet empire, Knaifel turned his music increasingly towards religious themes: these were works like Confession, here, for piano, in which the performer has to barely murmur the words, so that they are scarcely audible above a ghostly whisper. Or Oh Lord of All My Life, for basso voice and piano or This Child after the Gospel According to Luke. The few choral pieces on the album, sung by the Lege Artis Choir, contain two prayers to the Holy Ghost. Knaifel’s musical language constantly evolves from marvellous surrealism and luminous serenity, with a controlled, unusually slow, pace.

Alexander Knaifel (1943- )
1. O Comforter 05:23
2. A Mad Tea-Party 08:13
3. Bliss 04:37
4. This Child 09:40
5. Confession 07:21
6. O Lord Of All My Life 16:01
7. O Heavenly King 06:52
8. Lukomoriye 04:35

Oleg Malov, piano
Tatiana Melentieva, soprano
Piotr Migunov, bass
Lege Artis Choir
Boris Abalian, conductor