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Alexander Shchetynsky

Prayer for the Cup
for piano
(1990)

... and kneeled down, and prayed, saying,
Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me:
nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
And there appeared an angel unto him
from heaven, strengthening him.
Luke 22, 41-43

This title refers to the well-known episode from the Gospel that was an inspiration for many painters and poets. However, I wanted not only to reproduce the emotional context of that plot, but, first of all, to find its musical equivalent. Two thematic elements become in turn the basis for double variations. The first is sustained chords resembling remote chimes. The second is a soft melodic line the image of a choir singing, mostly monophonic and only in the middle part of the piece presented in a polyphonic way. Choir and church chimes are the only two musical elements that may be used in the divine service of the Orthodox Church. Being imitated in piano writing quite ascetic and not very typical of piano music they bear the traits of a concentrated prayer.

Alexander Shchetynsky


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