Vyacheslaw Artyomov - In Spe/Latin Hymns

Published Wednesday 18th September 2019
Vyacheslaw Artyomov - In Spe/Latin Hymns
Vyacheslaw Artyomov - In Spe/Latin Hymns

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 175266-28280
LABEL: Divine Art DDA25184

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

While I have classified this album as "Classical" because 47 of the 77 minutes of the programme are orchestral, I suspect that for many readers and listeners the four choral pieces at the end will be of greater interest. But first some background: Vyacheslav Artyomov was born in Moscow in 1940 and like the Estonian Arvo Part survived Soviet oppression to flourish under the new regime. His music is spiritual and, like our own John Tavener, takes influences from many and various traditions, including Eastern Christianity. That this release is volume 10 of a series of 12 in The Divine Art Artyomov Retrospective tells us that he has been a prolific composer and his record label have certainly done him proud in the presentation of the series. 'In Spe' ('In Hope') is a symphony with concertante violin and cello solos played respectively by Ivan Pochekin and Alexander Buzlov in front of some spectacular playing by the Russian National Orchestra under Valentin Uryupin. To describe it in a sentence is a challenge and the best I can come up with is that it sounds like a collaboration between Anton Bruckner and Igor Stravinsky and those who enjoy contemporary classical music will find it most engaging. However, it is the second part of the programme that is of greater interest, with four 'Latin Hymns' for choir and soloist. The texts are the traditional "Miserere Mei", "Ave, Maria", "Salve, Regina", and "Ave, Maris Stella" which need no explanation for our Catholic and Orthodox readers and will probably leave our Protestant friends cold. Taken musically rather than theologically all four are gems and much more approachable than 'In Spe'. The Yurlov State Capella sing superbly but the star is the soprano soloist Nadezhda Pavlova of whom I am sure we will hear much more in the future. The composer's aim was to go beyond presenting prayers to the Blessed Virgin and to recreate her persona in music. Obviously, Mary was neither Russian nor male but somehow Artyomov manages, with the superlative contribution of Mme Pavlova, to take us somewhere special. If music that is ecstatically numinous appeals to you then these four hymns are well worth seeking out.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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