This ritualistic music seems unparalleled. But digging around, I came up with these part-comparisons. Still, Ustvolskaya's music remains unique.
- As conductor Reinbert de Leeuw mentioned: the ontology has some parallels to Bruckner's symphonies. Personal, spiritual, focused.
- Then why not throw in Mahler (and other symphonists such as Allan Pettersson and Matthijs Vermeulen) as well.
- The more spiritual instead of liturgical character, together with moments of ecstacy, can be found in several massive Olivier Messiaen compositions as well.
- A more direct comparison would be Aribert Reimann. Listen to his clustered harmonies of relentless intensity, as found in his opera Troades.
- Finally, I was reminded of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's "Ich wandte mich und sah' an alles Unrecht, das geschah unter der Sonne - Ekklesiastische Aktion" for 2 speakers, bass solo and large orchestra. Zimmermann wasn't particularly interested in writing 'beautiful' music, when he was working on this piece. It has a similar personal, emotional intensity that characterizes Ustvolskaya's music.