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Concerto for Mixed Choir is Alfred Schnittke's major choral work,created in 1984 - 1985. The piece is based on "The Book of MournfulSongs" by the great Armenian medieval poet, Gregor Narekatsi (951 - 1003).
"The Book of Mournful Songs" is a definitive work by thepoet, written near the end of his life. Already greatly popular in theMiddle Ages, it was read and passed down through generations, its images givennumerous interpretations. Narekatsi's book focuses on man's inner life andis vastly colored with humanistic individualism, typical of Armenian poetry andphilosophy of the time.
In his Choir Concerto, Schnittke sought to reflect the poet'sworld, diverse and full of contrast. "Narakatsi's text", saidthe composer, "is but a preparation for the understanding of actualmeaning, which is revealed in the process of reading but cannot be conveyed inwords." Schnittke's concerto, a combination of conveyed and hiddenmeanings, is characteristic of the whole work. Expressive vocalismsurrounds recitation, creating a symbolic plan of sound. The tangibilityof the text in the first movement dissolves into serene semitonal psalmody inthe second, into major triads, and eventually rises into a sphere of abstractimages.
Alfred Schnittke completed his Choir Concerto in the summer of 1985and dedicated it to Valeri Polyansky and the USSR Ministry of Culture ChamberChoir.
1. O Thee, the Sovereign of Everything, Who Gives Us Precious Gifts - 17:04
2. Collected Songs Where Every Verse is Full of Grief - 8:31
3. For Those Who'll Deeply Go Into the Meaning of Mournful Words,
For Those Who'll Perceive the Essence of Creation - 11:56
4. This Work Which I Begin With Hope and Name of Thee - 6:09
Two Small Organ Pieces
5. - 4:28
6. - 3:45
Total time - 51:46
Conductor - Valeri Polyansky
USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir
Elena Dol-Donskaya, soprano