Classical review: John Tavener, Requiem

(EMI)

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.

Contributor

Fiona Maddocks

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Classical music review: Tavener: Requiem; Mahãshakti; Eternal Memory

The work's grandiloquence and undeniable moments of beauty seem more gestural than expressive, and too diffuse, says Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

21, May, 2009 @11:10 PM

John Tavener: Towards Silence – review
John Tavener's new work is a compelling mix of sweet consonance and febrile dissonance, says Nicholas Kenyon

Nicholas Kenyon

19, Dec, 2010 @12:05 AM

Article image
Triptych; John Tavener memorial service – review

Opera Erratica worked wonders with a cast of five. And the bells rang out for John Tavener, writes Fiona Maddocks

Fiona Maddocks

14, Jun, 2014 @11:09 PM

John Tavener – review

The composer's new works represent a blaze of creativity and rank among his most transparently personal statements, writes Alfred Hickling

Alfred Hickling

08, Jul, 2013 @5:14 PM

Verdi: Requiem | CD review

The recording is a touch dry, but that highlights the rare precision of all four soloists, says Nicholas Kenyon

Nicholas Kenyon

12, Sep, 2009 @11:01 PM

Article image
My hero: John Tavener by Steven Isserlis
Having asked Tavener to write a short piece for him, the cellist Steven Isserlis was delighted to be provided with the huge and deeply romantic The Protecting Veil

Steven Isserlis

15, Nov, 2013 @5:14 PM

Article image
Classical home listening: John Tavener: No Longer Mourn for Me; Josquin Masses and more
Steven Isserlis and friends record a heartfelt tribute to the late, great British composer, while the Tallis Scholars conclude their epic Josquin mass cycle

Fiona Maddocks

07, Nov, 2020 @12:00 PM

Article image
Sir John Tavener, 1944-2013: an appreciation

Sir John Tavener, who died last week, wrote the sort of choral pieces that all composers wish they'd written, writes Bob Chilcott

Bob Chilcott

15, Nov, 2013 @6:29 PM

Article image
Sir John Tavener has died, aged 69

Composer was best known for his explorations of faith, inspired by his joining the Russian Orthodox church

Guardian Music

12, Nov, 2013 @5:30 PM

Tavener premiere, Tewkesbury Abbey

Tewkesbury Abbey

Rian Evans

23, Jul, 2002 @4:18 PM