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Hyperion Records

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Beneath Enchanted Ground by Clive Barndon
Reproduced by kind permission of the artist / Private Collection
Track(s) taken from CDA66980
Recording details: July 1997
St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Gary Cole
Engineered by Gary Cole
Release date: February 1998
Total duration: 10 minutes 3 seconds

'Nothing short of phenomenal. Here is one of the 20th century's most important musical voices, and this recording does that voice full justice' (Gramophone)

'Quite dazzling … these performers make this music mythically awesome and hypnotically accessible' (Choir & Organ)

'Staggering virtuosity. A likely disc of the year' (The Sunday Times)

'This is a 'must have' disc. Quite simply magnificent. Overwhelming. Buy it!' (Classic CD)

'Achingly beautiful as well as aesthetically satisfying. I can't imagine a better representation of the vocal work both in program and performance. This is an absolute Must Have for everyone' (Fanfare, USA)

'Riveting' (The Irish Times)

Knephas
composer
1990

Knephas  [10'03]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Knephas (‘Darkness’, 1990) is a vast and angry lament, without words. Based on a phonetic text, it integrates many of the elements of a musical language which has come to be identified with Xenakis over the years, who maintains: ‘I want to get away from myself, as if I had come to this world like an alien. I think the powerful things are without sentiment.’ His need for Verfremdung is warranted by his resolve to express fearful and threatening experiences which were ‘unspeakable’.

At first, with fixed pitches spread fan-like across the register, assertive women’s voices sustain their position supported by blocks of massed male chanting. A thinned texture revolving around small intervals leads gradually again to multiple, broad, almost orchestral strokes in which small changes in pitch or articulated vowels cause the sustained sounds to shimmer, to take on instrumental colours. As the forces of the choir alternate in supporting or interrupting roles, the work gradually unfolds towards a dense group polyphony, finally to come to rest slowly in a cavernous, only slightly decorated, sustained mass recitative.

Knephas was commissioned by the Almeida Festival for James Wood and the New London Chamber Choir and was first performed by them in June 1990. It is dedicated to Marc Dondey and James Wood.

from notes by Nouritza Matossian © 1998

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