Schnittke’s Psalms Of Repentance In A New Light
Cappella Amsterdam and its artistic leader Daniel Reuss present their third Pentatone album with a recording of Alfred Schnittke’s Psalms of Repentance. Schnittke composed the piece in 1988 to commemorate the Christianisation of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus in 988, and based it on anonymous Russian texts from the 16th century about guilt and repentance. It is one of the most impressive large-scale works for a cappella choir written in the twentieth century, setting intensely emotional texts to equally expressive music, and approaching centuries-old Orthodox musical traditions through the lens of late twentieth-century music. This recording uses the original manuscript, which differs in multiple ways from the published score, resulting in an interpretation that aims to be closer to the composer’s intentions.
“There is a wonderful manuscript of Stikhi Pokayanniye in the hand of Alfred Schnittke. Between
this manuscript and the edition published by Belaieff are considerable differences. There are hardly
any dynamic markings in the manuscript, there are no time signatures indicated, no phrasing. And sometimes there are simply different notes written!
For this recording we have based our interpretation on the manuscript. That is why we end the piece– Daniel Reuss
with a D Major chord. D as symbol of Deus, without the E-flat that is added in the printed edition.
Metanoia, repentance, leads to redemption. We were inspired by the ladder of Johannes Climacos.
When the thirty steps of the ladder have been climbed, ‘ heaven’ can be entered.”
Digital Release Date: 28 APRIL 2023
Physical Release: APRIL 2023
Released as 1 CD and in digital formats for streaming and high-resolution downloads.