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Track(s) taken from CDA67475

The Bridal Chamber


Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Recording details: January 2004
Temple Church, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: September 2004
Total duration: 7 minutes 47 seconds


'Polyphony fields 25 singers for this project and for this repertory, I think you've got about a good a choir as you could possibly get. Stephen Layton directs with clarity and sensitivity. In fact, his expert pacing is the main reason for this recording's success. This is one of Layton's best CDs yet, and that's saying something' (BBC Radio 3 CD Review)

'The brilliant, white, celestial light Tavener so effectively evoked earlier in the decade had a chill core. Here—if you will bear with the synaesthesiac overtones—gold seeps in, along with the deep blue traditionally associated with portraits of the Virgin' (Gramophone)

'Stephen Layton's heartfelt commitment to the composer's music brings forth shimmering performances from his excellent choir Polyphony. If you enjoy radiant choral writing and singing, then this is the disc for you' (Choir & Organ)

'there's no doubt about the quality of the performances. Tavener finds devoted interpreters in Polyphony who produce some of the most beautiful choral singing you could ever hope to hear. And all is captured in a glowing recording' (BBC Music Magazine)

'for the Tavener devotee, among whose number I include myself, this disc is an essential survey of the composer's recent musical concerns, and contains some splendid new music' (International Record Review)

'Stephen Layton's superb choir, Polyphony, does wonders in bringing variety to a sequence of John Tavener's works for small chorus that might easily have seemed too slow and meditative' (The Guardian)

'The power of Tavener at his best is fully unlocked by Polyphony and Stephen Layton, whose sensitivity to the sacred and human in his music communicates in every work on this disc' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Polyphony's singing is immaculate, captured in the resonant acoustic of the Temple Church in glorious recorded sound. It's a hard man who would not be moved by this disc' (Fanfare, USA)

'performed with conviction by Stephen Layton's Polyphony. His professional choir manages to convey the hypnotic serenity at the heart of Tavener's latest works, while packing a punch in their more dramatic moments, a strategy supported by Hyperion's A-grade recorded sound' (Music Week)
The Bridal Chamber dates from three years later. It was written in memory of Pat Harrison, who was the inspiration behind the Little Missenden Festival, with which Tavener has been associated for many years – children from Little Missenden Village School participated in the premiere (1969) and subsequent recording of Celtic Requiem. The Bridegroom here is Christ, whose second coming is a recurring theme during the services of Holy Week in the Orthodox Church. The text of this exaposteilarion – ‘Thy Bridal Chamber I see adorned, O my Saviour, but I have no wedding garment that I may enter there’ – has led to the Matins services of the first three days of Holy Week being popularly referred to as ‘Bridegroom Matins’. Using a znamenny chant as a basis, Tavener sets the text in a radiant D major, but coloured by the frequent use of added ninths and suspensions: an apparently ‘wanton’ richness that would, a few years before, not have been apparent in such a fashion.

from notes by Ivan Moody © 2004

The Bridal Chamber fut écrite trois ans plus tard en mémoire de Pat Harrison, qui fut l’âme du Little Missenden Festival, auquel Tavener demeura longtemps associé – les enfants de la Little Missenden Village School participèrent à la première (1969) puis à l’enregistrement du Celtic Requiem. Le fiancé de The Bridal Chamber est le Christ, dont le deuxième avènement est un thème récurrent des offices de la Semaine sainte dans l’Église orthodoxe. C’est au texte de cet exapostilaire – «Je vois ta chambre nuptiale parée, ô mon Sauveur, mais je n’ai nul habit de noces pour pouvoir y entrer» – que les matines des trois premiers jours de la Semaine sainte doivent leur appellation populaire de «matines du fiancé». Prenant pour base un chant znamenny, Tavener met en musique ce texte dans un radieux ré majeur, coloré cependant par l’usage fréquent de neuvièmes ajoutées et de suspensions – une richesse en apparence «exubérante» qui, quelques années plus tôt, ne se serait pas manifestée ainsi.

extrait des notes rédigées par Ivan Moody © 2004
Français: Hyperion Records Ltd

The Bridal Chamber entstand drei Jahre später. Dieses Stück wurde in Gedenken an Pat Harrison geschrieben, der das Little Missenden Festival ins Leben gerufen hatte, mit dem Tavener viele Jahre lang in Verbindung stand – Schüler der Dorfschule von Little Missenden nahmen an der Uraufführung (1969) und später auch an der Einspielung des Celtic Requiem teil. Der Bräutigam hier ist Christus, dessen Wiederkunft häufig als Thema in den Gottesdiensten der Orthodoxen Kirche während der Karwoche auftaucht. Der Text dieses Exaposteilarion – „Dein Brautgemach sehe ich geschmückt, o mein Heiland, aber ich habe kein Brautgewand, mit dem ich eintreten dürfte“ – hat dazu geführt, dass die Morgenliturgien der ersten drei Tage der Karwoche gewöhnlich als „Bräutigam-Metten“ bezeichnet werden. Auf der Grundlage des Znamenny-Chorals vertont Tavener den Text in einem leuchtenden D-Dur, das allerdings durch den häufigen Einsatz hinzugefügter Nonen und Vorhalte eingefärbt ist: eine scheinbar „ausschweifende“ Bereicherung, die noch ein paar Jahre zuvor in dieser Form nicht anzutreffen war.

aus dem Begleittext von Ivan Moody © 2004
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

Other albums featuring this work

Tavener: Choral Music
This album is not yet available for downloadSACDA67475Super-Audio CD
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