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Songs For The Spaces Between The Stars
on 23 September 2010
In this, their third collaboration, Norwegian saxophonist
Jan Garbarek and vocal quartet The Hilliard Ensemble
(David Jones / countertenor; Rogers Covey-Crump / tenor;
Steven Harold / tenor and Gordon Jones / baritone) have
taken the liturgical musical canon of the Armenian Orthodox
church as the starting point for another sublime musical journey.
The juxtaposition of Mr Garbarek's haunting soprano and tenor
inventions within and around the other-worldly background of
The Hilliard's peerless vocal interpretations is never less than
thrilling. If there is a heaven this marriage was made there!
At the heart of this wonderful album the arrangement of
Nicolai N. Kedrov's extraordinarily beautiful 'Litany'
delivers a remarkable listening and emotional experience.
The intensity generated by Mr Garbarek's mercurial playing
and the sedate concentration of the four singers' perfectly
measured rendition of the vocal score is simply sublime.
Arvo Part's 'Most Holy Mother Of God' is another of the project's
most affecting highlights. As an expression of simple but profoundly
articulated faith the composition and performance is very moving.
(Mr Garbarek watches in silence from the wings on this one).
'Alleluia. Nativitas', a jaunty piece by 12th century composer
Perotin, ducks and dives and dances in the sun without a care in
the world. A little light relief from the otherwise sober and
reverential atmosphere of the rest of the album and a playful
manifestation of another kind of spiritual vision and joy.
Manfred Eicher's luminously detailed production for ECM is magical.
The accompanying booklet, with an informative text by
Thomas Steinfeld and stunning black and white photographs
by Mario Giacomelli further enhance our enjoyment.
An important recording of inspired artistry and refinement.