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Mnemosyne

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
ECM's guru Manfred Eicher had the brilliant idea to bring together Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble, an early music vocal quartet. The magical combination of medieval song and soaring improvisation made OFFICIUM 1994 -- the recording made at their first meeting -- an unexpected success. On MNEMOSYNE the musicians go even further. The Hilliards now draw on two millennia's worth of music, including a second-century Greek hymn, an Iroquois "Eagle Dance," and one of Garbarek's own compositions. Many of the pieces are so fragmentary that the singers must also improvise their parts. With 20 tracks filling up two CDs, the program is ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
ECM's guru Manfred Eicher had the brilliant idea to bring together Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble, an early music vocal quartet. The magical combination of medieval song and soaring improvisation made OFFICIUM 1994 -- the recording made at their first meeting -- an unexpected success. On MNEMOSYNE the musicians go even further. The Hilliards now draw on two millennia's worth of music, including a second-century Greek hymn, an Iroquois "Eagle Dance," and one of Garbarek's own compositions. Many of the pieces are so fragmentary that the singers must also improvise their parts. With 20 tracks filling up two CDs, the program is amazingly varied, yet the effect is totally unified. MNEMOSYNE is also more daring than its predecessor, with a few effective excursions into dissonance. Those who want the kind of ethereal, meditative experience OFFICIUM offered will certainly find it here, but MNEMOSYNE's greater emotional range is even more involving and satisfying.
All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble waited nearly five years before trying to follow up their surprisingly successful Officium album, but finally they came through with an even more adventurous two-CD set of jazzman-meets-early-music-voices. Here, their range straddles no less than three milleniums just missing a fourth by a couple of years, from the "Delphic Paean" of Athenaeus circa 127 B.C. to a lullaby by the contemporary Estonian composer Veljo Tormis, with intervening contributions by Hildegard von Bingen, William Billings, and Thomas Tallis, Iroquois Indians, Basque and Peruvian folksongs, and many more far-flung choices. Most daringly, the four voices themselves now start to improvise on scraps of ancient material culled from old book bindings and the like, though it's hard to determine exactly where this occurs probably during some passages of wordless vocalise. Ultimately, despite the freer methods, the results are often pretty much the same as Officium on disc one -- soothing, timeless sonic frescos reverberantly recorded in the same Austrian St. Gerold monastery, with Garbarek soaring over or threading through the texture ever more sparingly. Yet on disc two, Garbarek and the Hilliards start to move into other worlds, breaking into something more disturbing and even atonal in that ancient "Delphic Paean," the syncopated harmonies of Garbarek's own "Loiterando," or a strange-sounding Russian Psalm from the 16th century. This is a collaboration in transition, and one hopes it will continue to evolve.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/5/1999
  • Label: Ecm Import
  • UPC: 028946512227
  • Catalog Number: 465122
  • Sales rank: 228,826

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jan Garbarek Primary Artist, Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
The Hilliard Ensemble Track Performer, Vocal Ensemble
Gordon Jones Baritone (Vocal)
John Potter Tenor (Vocal)
David James Counter Tenor (Vocal)
Technical Credits
Antoine Brumel Composer
Guillaume Dufay Composer
Hildegard von Bingen Composer
Thomas Tallis Composer
Jan Garbarek Composer
William Billings Composer
Manfred Eicher Producer
John Potter Liner Notes
Peter Laenger Engineer
Sascha Kleis Cover Design
Veljo Tormis Composer
Martine Passelaigue translation
Friedrich Holderlin Text
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