Alexander Knaifel - Svete Tikhiy

Monday 1st September 2003
Alexander Knaifel - Svete Tikhiy
Alexander Knaifel - Svete Tikhiy

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: ECM New Series 4611812

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Alexander Knaifel is a prolific composer born in Uzbekistan but now based in St Petersburg. This collection starts with “In Air Clean And Unseen” played by the Keller Quartet together with pianist Oleg Malov and the voice of the soprano, Tatiana Melentieva, sampled and processed by Andrei Siegle. It is a peaceful, meditative work not unlike some of Messiaen’s instrumental reflections upon spiritual matters or Tavener’s 'Protecting Veil'. The title track “Svete Tikhiy (O Gladsome Light)” is based upon the text of the Russian Orthodox liturgy. This may well make us think of Arvo Part or Sir John Tavener and the comparison is valid. Knaifel’s family background is Jewish but he claims to be motivated by a non-denominational religious feeling and is happy to borrow elements from Orthodoxy and even Buddhism. The end result is both challenging and intriguing and, for listeners who already enjoy the new religious music coming from the former Soviet Union, this could prove to be worth investigating.

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