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News - John Tavener | Angels & Other Choral Works

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Angels, the new John Tavener retrospective from Winchester Cathedral Choir is now available on Hyperion. Andrew Lumsden leads the choir in fifteen works by the composer, including premiere recordings of the Five Anthems from The Veil of the Temple and the Barry Rose SSA arrangements of The Lamb, Song for Athene and The Lord’s Prayer, plus anthems commissioned by or associated with Winchester, such as God is with us and As one who slept.

 Winchester Cathedral Choir | Andrew Lumsden, conductor | George Castle, organ

7) Song for Athene (arr. Barry Rose)
8) The Lamb (arr. Barry Rose)
9) The Lord’s Prayer (arr. Barry Rose)
10) Angels

Five Anthems from The Veil of the Temple

Alongside Tavener’s most internationally recognised works for choir comes the first ever commercial recording of the anthems extracted from his eight-hour masterwork, The Veil of the Temple (All night Vigil) (2002). In the introductory note to the CD Martin Neary writes, ‘The Veil of the Temple is in many ways a summation of John’s art, as he draws from an increasingly eclectic series of religious traditions, which became more and more important to him. What continues to strike me, as I listen again to The Veil, is on the one hand the beauty of the Orthodox-based chants, and on the other, the incredibly powerful cumulative effect as the music increases in complexity.’

He continues:

Sir John Tavener loved Winchester Cathedral. It is fair to say that it became one of his spiritual homes, and, as this album triumphantly shows, the cathedral and its choir under Andrew Lumsden are clearly ideal for his music. From 1972 until his death in 2013 John was a frequent visitor to Winchester, often at premieres of pieces composed for the Cathedral Choir.

To quote from Sir Nicholas Kenyon’s address at the Service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Work of Sir John Tavener, held in Westminster Abbey on 11 June 2014: ‘John’s music is never weak, always strong, never merely harmonious, but always powered (even in that little masterpiece The Lamb) by dissonance and harmonic conflict, which resolves into concord. With him we suffer, and he leads us towards resolution.’ How privileged we are to have had in our time a composer of such immense gifts; one who, working against the grain of our secular age, communicated through music a true sense of the numinous. Laus Deo!

Extracts from the Introductory note by Martin Neary © 2019

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