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Tavener: Thunder Entered Her, The Last Sleep of the Virgin, etc / David Hill, Winchester Cathedral Choir, Chilingirian String Quartet

Album Summary

>Tavener, John : Angels
>Tavener, John : Annunciation
>Tavener, John : Lament of the Mother of God
>Tavener, John : Thunder Entered Her
>Tavener, John : Hymns of Paradise
>Tavener, John : God is with us
>Tavener, John : The Last Sleep of the Virgin
>Pärt, Arvo : Summa
>Pärt, Arvo : Fratres
>Tavener, John : The Hidden Treasure
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

"John Tavener, one of the most popular composers of the last century, has created some meditatively enduring works such as Lamentations & Praises, Lament for Jerusalem, and Funeral Canticle. I've thoroughly enjoyed many of his works, and I'm glad that I purchased this 2-CD set from Virgin Classics, as it features a few other classics from the composer's repertoire. The first CD contains choral works that last from five to seventeen minutes, while the second CD contains orchestral pieces that require a string quartet.

The choral compositions have that common ethereal trait that dominates melody and harmony. Angels, an eight-minute piece that relies on repetition and simplistic atonality, that has an organ accompanying the choir. Annunciation lasts for five minutes, and is driven with terrifying beauty as it portrays the "humility, terror, and total acceptance of the Mother of God at the Incarnation." The sixteen-minute Lament of the Mother of God is probably my favorite piece on this first CD. Accompanied by a soprano, this one slowly goes from pianissimo to forte, signifying the "awesome majesty" of God and His Earth. I have to admit, I didn't like Thunder Entered Her as much as I did with the others. It was too bombastic and sometimes too erotic in many places. Hymns of Paradise makes it all up with its lyrical atmosphere. A few sections sound like it came right out of a score from Philip Glass, but I don't mind. Finally, God is With Us is a stunning five-minute Christmas piece that is sung in a very Byzantine style.

With the second half of this set, the choir is no longer present, but is replaced with a string quartet. The four pieces on this second CD are as beautiful and meditative as the ones in the first CD. The Last Sleep of the Virgin is a 25-minute work that also features handbells. The entire piece becomes a deeply spiritual experience with its tranquil lyricism and all. The Hidden Treasure is 31 minutes long, and the cello becomes an important instrument here. Complex melodies and Eastern sounds become the basis for this one. I would mention Summa and Fratres, but these are from a different composer, Arvo Part. I will say, however, that they are nonetheless very passionate works that are as deep as Tavener's.

Everyone here gives wonderful performances, especially the Chilingirian Quartet. The way they handle Last Sleep and Hidden Treasure is downright captivating. David Hill leads the Winchester Cathedral Choir with no unclean mistakes. The choir itself is brilliant: they sing with the right amount of passion and precision. The vocal soloists (especially Solveig Kringelborn) deserve awards for their fantastic singing. Iain Simcock does well with the handbells, while David Dunnett plays the organ flawlessly.

So if you're a fan of Tavener, or a fan of 20th Century choral music, or a fan of string quartets of any era, then don't don't wait any longer before you purchase this CD set (or the mp3's). Get it while you still can.

Grade: A-

NOTE: All of the quotes from this review are found in the booklet of this CD set."-Customer Review



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Works Details

>Tavener, John : Angels
  • Performer: David Dunnett (Organ)
  • Conductor: David Hill
  • Ensemble: Winchester Cathedral Choir
  • Running Time: 7 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1985

>Tavener, John : Annunciation
  • Performer: David Dunnett (Organ)
  • Conductor: David Hill
  • Ensemble: Winchester Cathedral Choir
  • Running Time: 5 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1992

>Tavener, John : Lament of the Mother of God
  • Performers: Solveig Kringelborn (Soprano); David Dunnett (Organ)
  • Conductor: David Hill
  • Ensemble: Winchester Cathedral Choir
  • Running Time: 15 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1989

>Tavener, John : Thunder Entered Her
  • Performers: Iain Simcock (Organ); David Dunnett (Organ); William Kendall (Tenor)
  • Conductor: David Hill
  • Ensemble: Winchester Cathedral Choir
  • Running Time: 17 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1990

>Tavener, John : Hymns of Paradise
  • Performers: Jacqueline Shave (Violin); Benedict Cruft (Violin); Boguslav Kostecki (Violin); Maciej Rakowski (Violin); David Dunnett (Organ); Patrick Kiernan (Violin); Donald Sweeney (Bass); Gavyn Wright (Violin)
  • Conductor: David Hill
  • Ensemble: Winchester Cathedral Choir
  • Running Time: 10 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1992

>Tavener, John : God is with us
  • Performers: David Dunnett (Organ); William Kendall (Tenor)
  • Conductor: David Hill
  • Ensemble: Winchester Cathedral Choir
  • Running Time: 5 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1987

>Tavener, John : The Last Sleep of the Virgin
  • Performer: Iain Simcock (Organ)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1991

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : Summa
  • Running Time: 4 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1991

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : Fratres
  • Running Time: 11 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1989

>Tavener, John : The Hidden Treasure
  • Running Time: 31 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1989