The Messenger (for Solo Piano)

Welcome to Classical Sunday at Song of the Day for Today!

This morning, I discovered a few pieces by the Ukrainian contemporary classical composer Valentyn Vasylyovych Silvestrov (b. 1937). He is likely the first living classical composer I’ve featured here at Song of the Day for Today.

A few pieces I listened to come from his song series Quiet Songs (or Silent Songs), written between 1974 and 1977 for piano and solo voice, written to accompany sung poetry classics. If I can find the translated lyrics, I would like to feature something from that, but so far, I haven’t found any.

While searching, I also found a piece called The Messenger, which Silvestrov composed for piano, synthesizer and string orchestra in 1996–1997. One version of it, for solo piano, is played by Helene Grimaud (b. 1969), a French-born pianist, wildlife conservationist, activist and writer who lives in New York, New York, USA.

The Messenger is a calming, melodic piece, and this quality comes through even more with the comparative simplicity of the solo piano version, which runs at just under ten minutes. I appreciated witnessing Grimaud’s concentration and listening to her interpretation of this exquisite piece; it’s as if she becomes the music when she plays.

The piece is the closing track on Grimaud’s album The Messenger (2020) on which she complements works by Silvestrov with those of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here.

Here is a video of Grimaud’s performance from the Deutsche Grammophon YouTube channel:

What did you think of the piece? Please let me know. And if you would like to suggest a piece of classical music for me to feature, I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on my Contact page.

With warm wishes,


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