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Naive Music (1954​-​55, rev. 1993)

by Valentin Silvestrov

Waltz 03:31
Nocturne 02:46
Fairy Tale 07:13
Idyll 04:45
Nocturne 02:25
Prelude 02:22
Waltz 04:34


At the beginning of the 1990s, after he had completed a succession of large orchestral works (Symphony No 5, Postlude for Piano and Orchestra, Exegi monumentum, Widmung, Metamusik), Silvestrov turned his attention to his own past, to his ‘old notebooks’ of the 1950s, which he rediscovered by accident. At that time the young Silvestrov, who simply enjoyed an infatuation with music which only the true dilettante can feel, and who had as yet no professional career to think about, had poured out a veritable torrent of romantic miniatures in the style of Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Liadov, Grieg and Chopin, music of which he had been specially fond over the years. These miniatures were reworked in 1993 to form the piano cycle Naïve Musik (1954, rev 1993). This unpretentious music has also been ‘wakened’ into new life through the characteristics of Silvestrov’s ‘metaphorical’ style—ie his particular way of developing and articulating the musical material. The ‘blurred’ sonority, like frost flowers on a window, interrupted by interjections (pauses, fermatas, rubato—the composer’s use of Italian directions almost never changes) and with the most delicate of nuances and continual use of the pedal–all this gives rise to a sort of ‘endless melody’, which does not stop when a piece finishes but which carries on, (attacca, as in all of his cycles) into the next.

This return to the past has a conceptual significance for Silvestrov. “I understand my own development as a circular process which can be expressed in the inspired lines of TS Eliot: ‘In my end is my beginning, in my beginning is my end’. I began with naïve music and imitated Chopin a little, then went through the avant-garde, but rejected both of these firmly in favour of my ‘metaphorical style’ and have made a return to naïve music.” Included in this are the ‘small forms’, typical of later Silvestrov, to which belong the previously-mentioned Bagatelles of recent years.


released March 3, 2022

Naive Music
1 Waltz
2 Nocturne
3 Fairy Tale
4 Idyll
5 Nocturne
6 Prelude
7 Waltz

Valentin Silvestrov - piano

Analog tape transfer & cover photo - Yar Godyna


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Valentin Silvestrov Kyiv, Ukraine

Valentin Silvestrov (1937) is a Ukrainian composer of contemporary classical music, increasingly regarded as one of the finest composers of his generation.
Using traditional tonal and modal techniques, Silvestrov creates a unique and delicate tapestry of dramatic and emotional textures, qualities which Silvestrov suggests are otherwise sacrificed in much of contemporary music.
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