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4.7 out of 5 stars
Eternal Light - A Requiem
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I heard this piece as part of a performance of the ballet by the Rambert ballet company, and was immensely moved by it. It truly lifts the listener to an existence beyond the material world. Buy it! You will never tire of listening to it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2011
Howard Goodall says in his notes that "this was to be a Requiem for the living, a Requiem focussing on interrupted lives .... in particular the catastrophic grief that follows the loss of young people". In the piece,Howard Goodall skilfully uses English poetry with fragments of Latin, either sung together or antiphonally. There is much to admire in this work and each listener will have their own favourite movements. Howard Goodall displays a great gift for melody as well as providing contrasts in mood. The over-riding feel of the work is one of peace, which is after all what those who are bereaved are seeking. The CD is completed with three other short choral works: Love Divine, The Lord is my Shepherd and Spared. Natasha Marsh, Alfie Boe, Christopher Maltman, London Musici and the Choir Of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford give a very satisfying performance, which is well worth investigation.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2008
With breathtaking music played by London Musici and angelic vocals from the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Goodall's "Eternal Light" is able to evoke the listeners' deepest emotions, successfully showing both the deep sadness and loss associated with death and the splendours of the afterlife.

Goodall's refreshing, original and intelligent take on the Requiem, manages to create a certain relevance to today's society without destroying the foundations of a Requiem. By combining the Latin sequence of a requiem with words to some of the finest poetry, Goodall creates a beautiful array of emotions, and makes the requiem more accessible and meaningful to the listeners.

Eternal Light is a joy to listen to over and over again. Its superbly constructed movements with harmonies that will undoubtedly stick with and move you, Goodall's requiem is a truly magnificent piece of music. Anyone who appreciates either music or poetry will see how Goodall's choice of poems compliment the Latin meaning of each movement, and emphasises the powerful, confusing range of the strongest emotions one feels after losing someone.

Beautiful, inspiring, emotional and stunning, Eternal Light must be one of the best pieces of music I've ever heard. I simply cannot do it justice in this review, nor can I recommend it highly enough.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 19 October 2008
There is much to like in this modern requiem containing a surfeit of beautiful, nice music that is peaceful, and indeed comforting, in tone. I'm sure that it will be enjoyed by many and that school and church choirs all over the country will soon be singing selections from it - and enjoying them too!

Unsurprisingly, at times the music is a little Lloyd-Weber meets the Vicar of Dibley ('Lead Kindly Light', 'Belief', 'Do not stand at my grave and weep') but it is certainly pleasant enough and occasionally the singing thrills as in the innovative 'Revelations' both mixing a medieval yet modern feel. The 'Recordare' is a beautifully poignant combination of latin text and Phineas Fletcher's early-17th century sacred verse Drop, drop, slow tears and its simply exquisitely sung by Natasha Marsh. It works extremely well and is my favourite piece in the Requiem.

The problem I have with all of this is the composer's stated aim to provide "a modern Requiem... that acknowledges the terrible, unbearable loss and emptiness that accompanies the death of loved ones, a loss that is not easily ameliorated with platitudes about the joy awaiting us in the afterlife." I'm not at all sure that, in the round, he's actually done this, particularly in what I can only describe as a disfunctional "Dies Irae" where the latin text is coupled with "In Flanders Fields". In my opinion this completely fails to do justice to both texts and indeed to the imagined horrors of hell or the real horrors of the modern battlefield. The "Dies Irae" is traditionally the most powerful and terrifying piece in a traditional requiem for a very good reason. It represents the pain and horror of death and judgement precisely because this is a reality in the experience of the bereaved which must be faced and endured before one can work through grief to find peace, solace and salvation.

My overall feeling after listening to "Eternal Light" several times is certainly one of peace but only because I think its dodged the main issue and gone, dare I say it, for musical rather than doctrinal platitudes. Its certainly worth buying as it contains, individually, some very nice pieces, but for a better modern requiem try Preisner's Requiem for My Friend.

I don't like the saccharine-sweet dibleyesque hymns ("Lead Kindly Light", "Love Divine" and "The Lord's My Shepherd") but school choirs will probably like them. The last two are additional 'bonus' tracks to the Requiem as is the final, amazing and extremely moving, setting of "Spared", a poem written by Wendy Cope about the devastating attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on 9/11.
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on 22 September 2012
I have recently been rehearsing this work for a small community choir and think it is a great piece of music with some excellent melodies and really good arrangements and stands up alongside many of the great choral works of all time, so I decided to get the download to see how it should sound.

What a disappointment!

I have two major gripes.

Firstly the quality of the recording is very poor. I believe this is a live recording of the premier performance, however the sound is very indistinct. The choir becomes very blurred and the dynamics are very flat and there are often problems with the balance between the vocalists and the instrumentalists.

Secondly The soprano soloist is an opera singer who manages to get vibrato on her vibrato a la Lesley Garrett. Why do beautiful choral works that come over best with a clear pure sound then get big powerful opera singers to ruin them.

If you want to hear a really good recording of a requiem, then I would highly recommend Ensemble Musique Oblique's recording of Faure's Requiem and The Messe des Pecheurs de Villerville by Messager/Faure instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2014
Well I wanted to like it because I like Howard Goodall, but honestly it seemed to me to be trying too hard. With the exception of The Lord's my Shepherd ( Vicar of Dibley version) which has become so familiar that it has lost that strangeness, the rest just wasn't for me. Much prefer the Lauridsen - Lux Aeterna which I bought at the same time.
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on 10 March 2013
I have enjoyed many of Howard Goodall's compositions and this is no exception.
Indeed, it is one of the most satisfying collections I have heard. Like all of his work, it is profoundly moving and is expressed in an understated style that is unmistakably English.
I enjoy a lot of sacred music- Bach , Mozart and Haydn for their richness and splendour; Howard Goodall's music is neither derivative nor imitative- it has a simplicity and tenderness that is immediately appealing..
In this Collection, my favourites are the settings of the Hymn Lead Kindly Light, the evocative Lachrymosa and the heart rending "Spared"- which uses the agony of September 11, to demonstrate that "love is all there is"
Sublimely conceived and beautifully performed, a wonderful addition to my collection
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on 22 November 2009
Howard Goodall shows us what can be achieved by contemporary composers. There is very little on the CD that I didn't like. The Recordare is terrifying clever and sounds very challenging to sing. 'Lead, Kindly Light' is a welcome surprise. The 'bonus' tracks at the end are variable: 'Love Divine' is superb and I have to disagree with the reviewer who thought it would be useful for choirs as the different time signatures from bar to bar will make it difficult for anything other than very accomplished choirs to tackle. Track 10 (the In Paradisum) brings the whole requiem together superbly. One slight criticim is Natasha Marsh's voice - I would have preferred a richer-toned mezzo; however this does not detract from the intrinsic goodness of this work.
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on 20 April 2009
This is a beautiful, lyrical, very accessible modern requiem, originally composed for a Ballet Rambert performance of the same name. It combines the traditional format of the requiem mass, in latin, with songs, arias, poems and original words in english set to the most ravishing music. Played by a chamber orchestra including two pianos, a chamber choir and soloists. On a wry note, you will hear an unintended reference to "The Vicar of Dibley", but don't let that put you off. Highly recommended - see the dance performance as well, if you can (2009 tour), to hear the music live in its original intended setting.
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on 10 May 2010
Having heard this work performed live at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, involving most of the soloists featured in this recording, I could not wait to get my hands on this CD. I was not disappointed. The work is both beautiful and moving, both in the texts which have been used and in the way these texts have been set to music. I listen to the recording time and time again whilst driving in my car and know that this is a CD which I will never tire of listening to. Highly recommended.
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