Mykola Dyletskyi (c. 1630-1690): this name is closely associated with the best accomplishments of Baroque music of the second half of the 17th century in Rzeczpospolita (in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth). His part-song chorals, composed for the Liturgy, have been since enchanting the audience with their cordial feeling and harmonious beauty delivered in a refined and perspicuous form. It was this rare – indeed, ‘Mozartian’ – concord between the inner harmony and the outer form which made his music incredibly popular in the 17th and 18th cc. among church singing schools of both the Kievan Metropolitanate and Moscovite Patriarchy. Numerous extant copies of his works as made by contemporary Ukrainian and Russian musicians witness to this outstanding fame. Even nowadays manuscripts of unknown compositions of his can still be discovered in the archives of Moscow, Sanct-Petersburg or Vilno, the capital of Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Included in this CD are three choral sequences: the eight-part Evensong and Requiem Liturgy, as well as the four-part Divine Liturgy. The first two are being presented for the first time in more than three centuries. The Divine Liturgy, which has been already widely acclaimed, is newly performed in a fully reconstructed, complete voice-part edition.
The Requiem Liturgy is the most extensive sequence among the composer's liturgical legacy. In all likelihood, it was a commissioned or occasional commemorational piece. The pretext may have been the demise in Vilno of the Kievan Uniat Metropolitan, Havryil Kolenda (†1674), who must have employed Dyletskyi as the composer and regent of the Metropolian Capella. Having lost his job, in 1675 Dyletskyi left Vilno for Moscow, where he became the ‘royal’ master at the court of Tsar Theodor Alekseyevich.
The Vespers and the four-part Divine Liturgy were written by Dyletskyi after his arrival to Russia. Several intonations, motifs, even whole fragments of his Requiescat Liturgy have been woven into the texture of these later works, making all three tonally affiliated.
Common for all three works is their minor key range. This is enhanced by their having one famous ‘golden sequence’ for their base, elaborated in different variations. In its incessant going round and round it produces a unique dramatic coloring, an ambience beyond time and space. The variance in music delivery, while adding to its multifacetedness, increases the tension, and the enchanting rhythmic reiterations bring about the feeling of a never-ending sublime universal dance.