Classical review: John Tavener, Requiem


Tavener has combined words from the Requiem Mass, Qur'an, Sufi texts and the Upanishads in this intense work for cello, soprano and tenor soloists, mixed chorus and orchestra. Written for Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral, and using the building's spatial possibilities, it has characteristic moments of heavenly ecstasy. Yet the work also shows new fervour and robustness which will surprise those who assume Tavener is stuck in a holy-minimalist rut. The Dies Irae roars ferociously, while the final "Ananda" floats away into the ether. The short, contemplative "Eternal Memory" and "Mahashakti" make fitting companion pieces. Beautifully performed by all.


Fiona Maddocks

The GuardianTramp

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