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Tavener: Towards Silence [World Premiere Recording] Hybrid SACD


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Frequently Bought Together

Tavener: Towards Silence [World Premiere Recording] + Christmas Proclamation - Tavener: Song for Athene , Svyati and other choral works + The Best of John Tavener
Price For All Three: £15.52

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Product details

  • Composer: Sir John Tavener
  • Audio CD (8 Nov 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Signum Classics
  • ASIN: B0046ZBLOY
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,522 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Towards Silence - Various Performers

Product Description

This premiere recording of Sir John Tavener s Towards Silence, written for four string quartets and a large Tibetan bowl, explores the nature of consciousness and the process of dying. Tavener had long wanted to write the work and persuaded Robertson to perform it. However, shortly after the manuscript was completed both men became critically ill and close to death themselves. Tavener, who has Marfan Syndrome, an inherited condition that attacks the body's connective tissue, had a series of major heart attacks while Robertson suffered a near fatal aortic dissection. By August 2008 Robertson had recovered sufficiently to resuscitate the project, which had now taken on a profound significance for himself and for Tavener. The members of the Medici Quartet immediately agreed to reform and identified young professional string quartets with whom to perform and to act as musical mentors. They selected three outstanding British ensembles for the UK performances the Court Lane, Finzi and Cavaleri Quartets and rehearsals began. The music is based on mystical Hindu concepts. I was inspired by reading [French philosopher] Rene Gueron s book Man and his becoming according to the Vedanta, says Tavener. He describes the four states: the waking state, the dream state, the condition of deep sleep, and that which is beyond. I decided very rashly early on to base the music on these four states I couldn t help myself doing so and try to represent them. These are metaphysical inner states but they also can be described as stages of dying. Tavener s vision was for all four quartets to be positioned high up in the cathedral dome,invisible to the audience, and arranged in the shape of a cross, bringing the Christian, Bhuddist and Hindu religions together. This sense of space has been captured in the recording, which is an SACD hybrid that can also be enjoyed on a surround sound setup.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Paracelsus1966 on 24 Mar 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinarily haunting work - droning strings, Tibetan temple bowl, the usual lack of development that we come to associate with Sir John. But most of it is very still - only the first 5 minutes have much business in them - the rest of it slowly fades away; programme music, if you like, for Eastern (especially Hindu) death beliefs.

It's not quite a string quartet in the conventional sense, being scored for 4 quartets (as it were), and therfore feels markedly different - far more tranquil and unearthly (especially towards the end, which sounds like it was recorded by NASA) - from his earlier string quartets (Last Sleep of the Virgin, Hidden Treasure, The World etc), but if you do like those works, you'll love this.

My only gripes are that the CD is banded as one track (the piece is in 4 movements) and there are no accompanying works; the CD is only 33 minutes long. Mind you, it's good for the price, and also maybe with something like this, you really don't need any other pieces on the CD. As Tavener notes in the booklet, this is a CD for meditation, so put it on repeat and listen to that amazing temple bowl, the sound of eternity...
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Barber on 21 Dec 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A haunting work, beautifully performed by the four string quartets for whom it was written. It is one of those works which is intended to induce a trance-like state in the listener, and this it does.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By BookBeetle on 29 May 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having now heard this 'in the flesh' in Salisbury Cathedral, last night, with the composer present, with the 4 quartets placed around the large space, Taverner's extraordinary, transcendent achievement is captured in this recording.
The spaciousness which is part of an inner and outer consciousness is utterly consistent, conveyed in the sequence of plucked and played strings, with a throbbing, vivid, undercurrent from the resonances of the Tibetan bowl.
Rather than being trance-inducing, perhaps, this music is able to engage most directly with spirit and soul: the coincidence of different religious faiths being absolutely enlarging. As an aid to meditation, perhaps it could be helpful - but it is in its own right, as something liminal, beautiful, and intelligible beyond all boundaries, that it should be listened to with every sense alert - inside a still body.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. O'G on 28 Mar 2011
Format: Audio CD
I can not find the words to describe this wonderful music of peace and hope by Sir John Tavener. An excellent recording. What a good idea to give just the one item of 33 mins at half price. What could follow this music other than the silence towards which it went.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By I. P. Cheneour on 21 Feb 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This work, album, piece, painting in sound,- what can I call it? - is stunningly profound from conception to performance. I had hoped to be at the permier performance, but am pleased to say that this CD has captured the moment magnificently.
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I bought this after hearing a liver performance and wanted to keep on hearing it. Glad I did. Four quartets and a Tibetan bell used sensitively without showing off. A clear sound quality handles the unusual set up well and Medici do it proud. Sleeve notes are very helpful. There is a clear sequence of mood and meaning as the piece progresses so it is better to hear it all in one go. So not in the car!
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The music, new to me, was most listenable and excellent value. The CD was sealed, as expected, and was delivered on time. Appreciated.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By droflim on 23 Aug 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is my first encounter with Tavener, often spoken of alongside Arvo Part. Intriguing in concept with each part lengthening and slowing, this must be really impressive in a cathedral setting with the 4 quartets placed around the huge space giving an ethereal quality one would imagine. The surround sound, while fine, does not really approach this for me - it is almost not distant enough. While it does slow and quieten it does not evoke the sense of one's existence and mortality like for example Mahler's ninth where in the Chailly surround sound version you end up listening to the sound of your own body so imperceptibly does it end.
Other enthusiastic reviews here are not wrong in their praise, however.
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