The Book of Genesis tells us that in the beginning was the Word and that the Word was sound. But what if it was music? What if God, in contemplating the creation of Creation, sang being into being? If so, it might have sounded something like the Sacred Songs of Valentin Silvestrov. In this seventh ECM album devoted to the Ukrainian composer’s music, we thusly encounter a sense of space unique to the Russian liturgy: the more the voices unify in movement, the more they lift from one another like temporary tattoos, leaving behind mirror images that wash away with baptism into infinite oneness with the Holy Spirit. Sin as sun. Firmament as fundament.
Composer and pianist Walter Saul is the recipient of 24 ASCAP awards and numerous other honours. His mission as a composer is ‘to create musical icons, windows of sonic light’ which point towards Christian spirituality. Kiev 2014 reflects on Ukraine’s challenges, from the darkness of occupation towards hope and victory. The Violin Concerto is packed with numeric symbolism, while A Christmas Symphony paints four significant scenes from the Nativity. Saul’s Overture for the Jubilee explores the history of John Quincy Adams and the abolition of slavery. From Life to Greater Life celebrates the transformation to heavenly immortality, and the profound peace which concludes Metamorphosis stands witness to the inner peace granted to the composer through his faith.