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Alexander Shchetynsky

Praise ye the Name of the Lord
for piano
(1988)

In its structure the piece resembles extended phantasy in three sections of about half an hour total duration. The first and third sections are soft and meditative, while the second is full of dramatic collisions. The melos of the piece is quite chimerical mixture of idioms of Gregorian chant and Orthodox Church chorals, and its modal transformations build the basis of development. Various scales and modes were utilized, starting from pure diatonisism till extended polymodality. At the beginning of the piece, one voice melody sounds without any accompaniment during extremely long time; this might associate with an ancient prayer singing. Its development is very gradual, new information - such as modal transformations, extension of the range, and variations of the phrase duration - is added little by little. The sense of the process lies not in the sequence of events that may be traced rationally, but in concentrated meditation kept away from ordinary life, as if beyond so called "vector time". The second voice enters with typical medieval cadences, one of many polystylistic elements utilized in the work. Gradual increasing of the volume marks the transition to the second section that consists of a number of tense and sometimes pathetical episodes. After extended climax the mood gets lucid, some motives resemble the theme Praise ye the Name of the Lord from The Vespers by Rachmaninov (this was the origin of the title of the piece). Along with modal thematic elements of melodic nature, the chords of non-tonal structure with widely distributed tones play an important role; these chords imitate the sound of the church chimes. Melodic movement carries a continuous dialogue with this chord element, and this dialogue determines the dynamics of development of the piece.

Alexander Shchetynsky


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