Dennis Russell Davies / Stuttgarter Kammerorchester SHOSTAKOVICH - VASKS - SCHNITTKE

Russell Davies, who really feels his Eastern Europeans, contrasts Shostakovich's lament for Dresden and humanity with Yuri Bashmet's sensitive arrangement of Schnittke's elegiac String Trio and introduces us to a powerfully moving piece by Latvian Vasks ­ Musica dolorosa. It's a pre-glasnost work whose tonal dramas linger long in the mind. Benefiting from charismatically brilliant playing, poetic phrasing and spiritiually involving bass resonances, this is an anthology not to be missed.' (Alex Orga, BBC Music Magazine) 

'The lamenting climaxes of the Vasks make an unforgettable impression here, and the link with Shostakovich is even more pertinent in the Schnittke where memories of music of the distant past (Russian chant, Schubert, Mahler) are paraded before the listener like shadows in the night. Throughout the three works, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra deliver highly charged performances, and the recording balances warmth of tone with admirable clarity of detail.' (Erik Levi, Classic CD)

'Among recent releases from ECM, the stunning label that records the works of Pärt and others, is Dolorosa, a collection of three works by 20th century dissident composers from the former Soviet Union. These works are profoundly moving testaments to the power of the human spirit to resist oppression. Vasks' title cut, and the recording's centrepiece, was written to both express and 'console' the suffering of the Latvian people. Admittedly bleak, at times very dramatic, it is also gorgeous ­ a near-perfect expression from a 'saddened optimist' searching for a way out of the crisis of his time, towards affirmation, towards faith. Music grounded in the mire of real life that can lift the soul toward the transcendent.' (Dwight Ozard, Prism) 

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