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Officium


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Product details

  • Performer: The Hilliard Ensemble, Jan Garbarek
  • Audio CD (31 Dec. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM New Series
  • ASIN: B000025IL0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,652 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Parce mihi domine 6:42£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Primo tempore 8:03Album Only
Listen  3. Sanctus 4:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Regnantem sempiterna 5:36£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. O salutaris hostia 4:34£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Procedentem sponsum 2:50£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Pulcherrima rosa 6:55£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Parce mihi domine 5:35£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Beata viscera 6:34£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. De spineto nata rosa 2:30£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Credo 2:06£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Ave maris stella 4:14£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Virgo flagellatur 5:19£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Oratio leremiae 5:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Parce mihi domine 6:52£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

'Officium' is one of the iconic albums. It has sold around 1½ million copies, and is still in the charts as one of the top 20 best-selling classical albums of the past decade, two decades after its 1994 release.

Amazon.co.uk

"What is this music?" Fundamentally, it's an exploration of what happens when an improvisatory instrumental voice (saxophone) is placed into the world of early vocal music, which has elements of both improvisation and formal structure. In reality, it's an adventure in which the four male voices of the Hilliard Ensemble travel the 14th and 15th-century territory of Morales and Dufay, visit the 12th-century Pérotin and roam even earlier ages of plainchant, accompanied by the always sensitive and tasteful, often astonishing, saxophone improvisations of jazz master Jan Garbarek. Sometimes, these new melodies simply accompany; sometimes they transform the common--a routine minor chord, for instance--into a sublime, indescribable moment. The answer to the above question is easy, but it's different for each listener. --David Vernier

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Aite Taimh on 21 Mar. 2011
Format: Audio CD
I heard this group several times on the radio and decided I must have the CDs.
I now have two and enjoy the haunting sounds of the pure voices and the saxophone.
Music of that era has a beautiful simplicity and sacredness to it.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Ernest the Goose on 2 Aug. 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is a remarkable Cd. Haunting, beautiful, spiritually stimulating (for those that need it) or tranquilizing (for those that don't.)

Memorable for all the ad men and women who have poached it over the years for evocative interlude music.

Easily one of my top ten CD's. If you have a vivid imagination, a good sound system, and time to wallow, then this is the album you've been searching for all those years to ignite your inner creativity and to flex the left side of your brain.

Enjoy,

Ernest the Goose.
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144 of 152 people found the following review helpful By Tom Shave on 24 Sept. 2002
Format: Audio CD
On paper the idea for this recording would have made an interesting suggestion- Norwegian modern jazz saxophone player meets English vocal quartet, and use medieval to renaissance sacred choral music as the basis of improvisation. Jan Garbarek has made a lot of CD's in his time signed to ECM, and these have, in my opinion, a wide range of success. Some recordings are often quite cliched and cheesy. This CD is possibly the best he has made. Possibly one of the best anyone will ever make.
The mood of the singers is dramatically sombre. There is a distinctly pure tone. There is no vibrato, no fast pieces. In the monastery where this was recorded there is a lot of reverb. This all leads to the transcendental effect of the music, it really feels as if some of the peace of the monastery has been captured and held in the music. A semi-lethargic quality is provided, in that we feel as if the music freezes us in time, or perhaps draws us out of time. The sound quality is perfect, we feel drawn out of life, and even provided with a different perspective of life, though more of a detachment from it. The singing operates in this fantastic manner, at once peaceful and dramatic, at once disturbing, awe-inspiring, and comforting. Added to this is the sax.
In the pieces where the sax provides a melody line it interweaves beautifully, involving itself with the singing, then dancing away, at times sympathising with the singers, at other times mocking them with bizarre super impositions. One minute identifying with the music, the next dancing away carelessly. Where the singing operates on a transcendental level, the sax seems to operate on all other levels, free from the necessary restrain of the singers. Where the music of the singing is too dramatic the sax detaches us carelessly.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Phine on 26 Jun. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Officium Novum

This was an excellent CD. I had first heard a track on Classic FM, and having consulted the site for the name of the track, it was good to be able to locate it on Amazon. I have not stopped listening to it. It certainly calms me for my daily hourly commute to work. Very soothing and haunting. A must have for music lovers and especially tenor saxaphone fans (there is a little bit of alto as well).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Quinn on 2 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD
I was stunned to receive this on xmas day as i thought no one had got it for me.
Heard it on the radio a few years ago, loved it, wrote it down and lost the bit of paper then found it again.
Exactly as i remembered. The combination of gregorian chant with sax is sooo goosebumpy.
A bit much for a whole CD as it is a bit 'samey' but but i play it a lot when i don't want mozart or pop music in the background.
The harmonizing is divine.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Teal Fox on 17 July 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I started listening to this album at the same time as I started reading Dissolution by C J Sansom and was transported to Tudor England and the dissolution of the monasteries. It's something more than the sum of its parts - jazz and chant. It is relaxing and poignant and the tunes remain playing in your mind as a sort of echo. I recommend it.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Mar. 2000
Format: Audio CD
I bought the CD on the basis of hearing one track (Parce Domine) in the car on the way to work one morning. I found that track absolutely riveting. Most of the rest of collection is equally arresting with one or two exceptions where in my opinion the saxophone is not sympathetic to the choral work, and is quite jarring. On the whole, one to keep coming back to.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Finbar the looney on 4 Mar. 2008
Format: Audio CD
There are moments in life when you can become speechless,I have always liked the ethos of the ECM label,and in the the vast majority of albums they release hit such a standard that other labels can only dream of,this is aone such album.
Garbarek and the Hilliards are in a stratosphere of their own,this truly stunning album achieves a benchmark even in ECMs high standard.the music is never short of stunning with Garbarek weaving his magic spell with beautiful,gracefull and moving sounds so much so that the problems of the world seem to disapear.
The Hilliard ensembles vocal ambience was never better,and having seen Garbarek and the Hilliards perform this live in concert,this is no one hit wonder.
This album changed the way that i listen to music,if you get a chance let this into your life,soul and heart and you will feel much better for it.
The music is enchanting,haunting and beautiful,and dates from the 13th14th and 15th century and it is a credit to all performers that it still sounds fresh today,if you like this try Gothic Voices "A Feather on the breath Of God"
Buy this album and be at peace with yourself
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