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Cappella Amsterdam, Daniel Reuss
Psalms of Repentance (Stikhi Pokayanniye)
Adam sat weeping at the gates of paradise
O wilderness, gather me
That is why I live in poverty
My soul, my soul
O man, doomed and wretched
When they beheld the ship that suddenly came
Oh my soul, why are you not afraid
If you wish to overcome
I have reflected on my life as a monk
Christian people, gather together!
I entered this life of tears a naked infant
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. Since its foundation in 1970, Cappella Amsterdam has shown an exceptional mastery of contemporary and early vocal music, with acclaimed excurses to Romantic repertoire as well. Daniel Reuss has been Artistic Leader of Cappella Amsterdam for over three decades now, and has worked with several renowned choirs and ensembles. Their PENTATONE debut album In Umbra Mortis (2021) won an Edison Klassiek Award,and was followed by David Lang: the writings in 2022.