As I’ve been going through my music library, I’ve recently become re-aquatinted with Schnittke’s Penitential Psalms. Based on anonymous 16th-century Russian texts, these works for unaccompanied chorus are astonishing, both medieval and modern at once. It’s very much like Ligeti, in many ways, but also profoundly depressing. Depressing? Well, look at some of the titles:

  • Adam Sat Weeping At The Gates Of Paradise
  • That Is Why I Live In Poverty
  • My Soul, Why Are You In A State Of Sin?
  • O Man, Doomed, And Wretched
  • If You Wish To Overcame Unending Sorrow
  • I Entered This Life Of Tears A Naked Infant

BTW, I’m up to “If Things Were Perfect” now.