John Tavener: A Portrait

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
A deluxe sampler covering the work of nearly 40 years, John Tavener: A Portrait has much to offer, including 19 musical tracks, a 46-minute interview with the composer, and a biographical essay detailing the key events and ideas in his life and work. Of primary interest is the premiere recording of Tavener's intense "Prayer of the Heart," convincingly performed by Icelandic pop singer Björk and the Brodsky Quartet. The text of the Orthodox Christian "Jesus Prayer" -- in Greek, Church Slavonic, Coptic, and English -- is set in fairly static sequences, which gradually progress through a spiritual scheme of halting trepidation, ecstatic aspiration, and, ultimately, serene ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
A deluxe sampler covering the work of nearly 40 years, John Tavener: A Portrait has much to offer, including 19 musical tracks, a 46-minute interview with the composer, and a biographical essay detailing the key events and ideas in his life and work. Of primary interest is the premiere recording of Tavener's intense "Prayer of the Heart," convincingly performed by Icelandic pop singer Björk and the Brodsky Quartet. The text of the Orthodox Christian "Jesus Prayer" -- in Greek, Church Slavonic, Coptic, and English -- is set in fairly static sequences, which gradually progress through a spiritual scheme of halting trepidation, ecstatic aspiration, and, ultimately, serene acceptance. Björk was chosen by Tavener for her unschooled and unaffected singing style, and it is clear that her emotionally exposed performance meets his expectations. While her raw and breathy delivery may not suit everyone's taste, Björk deserves credit for plumbing the work's expressive depths and bringing off a difficult, highly inflected vocal line with assurance and authenticity. Naxos, in coordination with Coro, Nimbus Records, Divine Art, NMC, and Reference Recordings, has put together a handsome package that may lead listeners to seek out the original albums from which this disc was compiled, and further explore the evolution of England's most esoteric composer.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/20/2004
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 636943815229
  • Catalog Number: 8558152-53
  • Sales rank: 169,363

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 In alium, for high soprano, strings, piano, grand organ, Hammond organ, bells, gongs & four-track tape: Section A - John Tavener & Eileen Hulse (4:14)
  2. 2 To a Child Dancing in the Wind, for soprano, flute, harp & viola: Movement I. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven - John Tavener & Aureole Trio (5:22)
  3. 3 The Lamb, for chorus - John Tavener & St. John's College Choir, Cambridge (3:52)
  4. 4 The Tyger, for chorus - John Tavener & St. John's College Choir, Cambridge (5:25)
  5. 5 Ikon of Light, for chorus & string trio: Movement I. FOS I, DOXA - John Tavener & Harry Christophers (5:00)
  6. 6 Ikon of Light, for chorus & string trio: Movement II. PIU INTENSITA - John Tavener & Harry Christophers (3:24)
  7. 7 Mandelion, for organ: Extract - John Tavener & Kevin Bowyer (3:30)
  8. 8 Chant, for guitar: Extract - John Tavener & Jonathan Richards (3:47)
  9. 9 Ikon of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, for chorus: Extract - John Tavener & James Lancelot (2:42)
  10. 10 The Protecting Veil, for cello & orchestra: Section I - John Tavener & Maria Kliegel (15:07)
  11. 11 Mary of Egypt, opera (ikon in music & dance) sor soloists, choruses, orchestra and tape: Act III. Bless Duet - John Tavener & Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble (7:27)
  12. 12 Akhmatova Songs, for soprano & cello (or string quartet): No. 5. The Muse - John Tavener & Patricia Rozario (2:58)
  13. 13 Diódia, for string quartet: Solemn - - John Tavener & Vanbrugh Quartet (5:52)
  14. 14 Diódia, for string quartet: [rehearsal letter I] - John Tavener & Vanbrugh Quartet (5:02)
  15. 15 Song for Athene, for chorus - John Tavener & St. John's College Choir, Cambridge (5:39)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Zodiacs, for piano - John Tavener & Hannah Davies (2:29)
  2. 2 Prayer of the Heart, for voice, Tibetan bells, monastery bell & string quartet - John Tavener & The Brodsky Quartet (15:17)
  3. 3 Ikon of Eros, for violin & orchestra: Movement I. (Éros) - John Tavener & Jorja Fleezanis (7:56)
  4. 4 Mother and Child, for chorus, organ & Hindu temple gong: Extract - John Tavener & Nigel Short (4:38)
  5. 5–11 John Tavener Reflects ... A Recorded Interivew - Recorded Sound & John Tavener (45:52)
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