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Hyperion Records

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Photograph of Sir John Tavener on the Greek island of Aegina in January 1981 by Peter Phillips.
Track(s) taken from GIMSE404
Recording details: January 1984
Merton College Chapel, Oxford, United Kingdom
Produced by Steve C Smith & Peter Phillips
Engineered by Mike Clements
Release date: April 2014
Total duration: 9 minutes 41 seconds

'Perhaps the time is right for the musical establishment (and the record industry) to begin to recognize Tavener as one of our most gifted and important composers of choral music. I hope so, for a talent so prodigious and special as his appears all too infrequently in today’s climate of intellectually orientated creativity … Ikon of Light dates from 1984, and is arguably one of his most sublime creations … The Tallis Scholars have a very special affinity and affection for Tavener’s music (he has written a number of works with them in mind) and this is evident from their committed performance of this penetrating and visionary work … superbly recorded in the Gimell tradition … a moving and richly rewarding programme that deserves to win many friends' (Gramophone)

Ikon of Light comes steeped in the traditional soundscape of Orthodox worship and is timeless in its musical response to the idea of an icon opening a window on eternity. It was commissioned by The Tallis Scholars whose atmospheric early recording is hard to beat’ (BBC Music Magazine)

Funeral Ikos
First line:
Why these bitter words of the dying?
composer
1981; first performed by The Tallis Scholars in Keble College Chapel, Oxford
author of text
translated from the Orthodox service for the burial of priests

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Funeral Ikos was written in 1981, and the first performance by The Tallis Scholars took place in Keble College, Oxford, as part of a programme that also included Russian medieval chant and which would shortly lead to a remarkable recording (‘Russian Orthodox Music’, Gimell CDGIM 002). It is a setting, both beautiful and austere, of words from the Orthodox service for the burial of priests, in the magnificent translation by Isabel Hapgood. The words are consolatory in tone, though they do not minimize the reality of death, the gateway to Paradise. Tavener’s music has its origins in Russian chant, though the harmonic progression for the ‘Alleluia’ refrain is distinctively his, particularly the penultimate chord.

from notes by Ivan Moody © 2014

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