Tavener: Tears Of The Angels - Scottish Ensemble - Gramophone

This new disc of music by John Tavener is, I'm sure destined to head straight to the top of the classical charts. If it does, the piece that will take it there will surely be the meditative, extremely beautiful...Depart In Peace, for soprano, violin, tampura and strings. Dedicated to the memory of his father it is a setting of the Song of Simeon (also known as the Nunc dimittis), interspersed with Alliuatic antiphons. The work follows a hypnotic sequence of repeating segments - an ecstatic string sequence with soprano (the first Alliuatic antiphon); the Song of Simeon (soprano, solo violin, tambura and cellos); an exquisitely beautiful, hymn-like sequence (the second antiphon)and finally an ecstatic Middle-Eastern sounding chant(the third antiphon). As the work progresses the antiphons lengthen on each repetition - the effect, over 25 minutes, is spellbinding and stunning.

Tavener describes My Gaze Is Ever Upon You as "a series of sixteen gazes, moments and ecstatic breaths, written in Trinitariun guise" for solo violin, with taped violin and string bass drone. Although less obviously immediate to the ear than...Depart In Peace, it nevertheless weaves a magical spell over the listener, as does Tears of the Angelsfor solo violin and strings, which Tavener asks at the head of the score, to be played "at the extreme breaking point of tenderness".The solo violin is often required to play pianissimo in the uppermost register, whilst the string ensemble accompany with a hushed, ethereal rendering of the Russian kontakion that Tavener also used in The Protecting Veil Clio Gould and the BT Scottish Ensemble perform these remarkable pieces with great authority, conviction and beauty, and Patricia Rozario's singing in ...Depart in Peace is extraordinarily fine. An extremely moving and beautiful disc that should not be missed.

01 October 1998