The Messenger – 1996

Composer: Valentin Silvestrov (b. 1937)
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Composer: Valentin Silvestrov (b. 1937)

Performance date: 28/06/2022

Venue: Bantry House

Composition Year: 1996

Duration: 00:08:44

Recording Engineer: Eduardo Prado, Ergodos

Instrumentation: pf

Instrumentation Category:Solo

Artists: Anna Fedorova - [piano]

Valentin Silvestrov [b.1937]

The Messenger – 1996

Ukrainian composer, Valentin Silvestrov, normally lives in Kyiv. He was there when the Russians invaded. Friends eventually persuaded him to leave and he took refuge in Berlin. Anna Fedorova is herself also from Kyiv and was very happy to include in her programme this uniquely strange message from Ukraine.

Silvestrov wrote The Messenger in 1996 after the sudden death of his wife Larysa Bondarenko, who was a musicologist.

The title of the piece is taken from the writings of the existential philosopher Yakov Druskin, a scholar from St Petersburg. Druskin’s ‘messenger’ is a fictional character who represents a link between this world and the world beyond. This figure is shown in the score by a series of smooth, remote-sounding, Mozartian phrases, marked as if enveloped in mist.

Silvestrov said: It is as if a visitor from some other dimension in time came to us with a message…perhaps Larysa herself, perhaps some distant muse speaking in the language of the late eighteenth century. This archaic and yet vitally contemporary language is filtered through a profoundly postmodern sensibility.

Francis Humphrys