The Shapeshift Ensemble performs Lacrimosa or 13 Magic Songs by contemporary composer Maxim Shalygin. The piece is uniquely set for seven violins.
Ukrainian-Dutch composer Maxim Shalygin has reimagined the age-old Lacrimosa in his Lacrimosa or 13 Magic Songs. In his composition, consisting of thirteen shorter Lacrimosas, seven violins replace the human voice. This most humble and appealing part of the Requiem is one of the best-loved genres of sacred music.
Shalygin’s work is a concentrated version of what the Lacrimosa means to him: his version is a purely instrumental plea to God, an appeal to man’s soul, and a desire for forgiveness and purification.
Shalygin’s Lacrimosa project marks the foundation of Shapeshift, a new, malleable performing ensemble. Based in the Netherlands, Shapeshift is founded by Jan-Peter de Graaff, Reza Namavar, Christiaan Richter, Maxim Shalygin en Janco Verduin, and percussionist Konstantyn Napolov. This ‘shape-shifting’ orchestra brings exceptional and unusual productions by a new generation of musicians. In Lacrimosa or 13 Magic Songs Shalygin extends the limits of technique and imagination and brings seven violins to call on God.
"Lacrimosa or 13 Magic Songs is a lamentation, man's final prayer before Judgement. This prayer can at once be incisive and show the various states of mankind: gleeful, repenting, fearful, lamenting, faithful... During the performance of the 13 Songs, the listeners' souls are supposed to pass through a series of excruciating, excessive stages, to finally reach a catharsis. This direction determines the cycle's dramaturgic structure.
My aim is to transform an immediate, openly emotional response to powerful impressions. Something most contemporary art refuses to deal with into the musical form of the Lacrimosa. For all the varied techniques to be applied in the work, its emphasis is on the emotion, its aspiration to capture the listeners' minds, immersing them in the atmosphere of each part. This idea can be realized only by a multi-voice single-timbre ensemble of violins, at once a unity and a multitude, one soul and its many voices, a number of people struggling to come at peace with the world, one another, and silence..." Maxim Shalygin
"Writing music for the common 20th-century types of classical ensembles that comprise a variety of instruments, has lost its appeal to me over the last couple of years. My musical forms tend to show a reduction to homogeneous instrumental compositions: the Marian Antiphons for 12 voices a cappella, the Insane Dances for saxophone quartet, Six Bagatelles for Two Violins, the Suite - Homage to Alfred Schnittke for three cellos, and many more. And thus, I conceived of a cycle over a lifetime, titled Similar, and its first chapter is to be the Lacrimosa or 13 Magic Songs for seven violins.
Lacrimosa or 13 Magic Songs is a lamentation, man’s final prayer before Judgement. This prayer can at once be incisive and show the various states of mankind: gleeful, repenting, fearful, lamenting, faithful... During the performance of the 13 Songs, the listeners’ souls are supposed to pass through a series of excruciating, excessive stages, to finally reach a catharsis. This direction determines the cycle’s dramaturgic structure."