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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 24 August 2001
This is, without a doubt, the most beautiful music I have ever heard. Barring none. Of course Bach's Cello concertos are amazing, and Beethoven's Misa Solemnis is stunning, and all of these well known pieces speak to the soul in their way - but none of them touch the spirit quite so directly or exquisitely as this work.
The first CD has quite literally helped to heal my not so well mind (brain left ravaged by a virus) and shore up a broken heart. Tracks like Agnus Dei have an ethereal rythmic quality which borrows from the best of chant and the most sublime of new age. The Hilliard ensemble do an excellent job witht he Gregorian chant - often improvised and fluid, but it is the saxaphone over the top that runs a direct line from the voices in the music to core of your being.
Every evening I put my headphones on, chose a track and set the player to repeat that track over and over again. Over the course of about half an hour I can feel the sounds of this CD starting to "knit up the ravelled sleave of care", just like the most delicioius sleep.
Really, honestly, the most beautiful, spellbinding music I have ever had the pleasure of listening to.
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on 12 March 2010
This is the follow-up to the first Garbarek/Hilliard album - "Officium".
"Officium" was stunning at the time with it's choral works of achingly beatiful melodies from both the Hilliards and Jan Garbarek. At the same time, some of the saxophone lines were taxing and challenging to the choral lines.

Mnemosyne follows on in the same vein, but adds a different flavour by using both secular and sacred sources, as well as a couple of Jan Garbarek originals. This time though, the choice of choral works means there is a less "sacred" feel to the choral aspects, and the sax lines are much more to the forefront, and more challenging; at times swamping the vocal lines, and seeming discordant. This is no bad thing if you want the challenge, but isn't to everyone's taste.

If I were only buying one of the two, I'd buy "Officium", I find it easier to listen to. If I were buying only one of the two, for a technical modern jazz fan, or someone who understands music in a very technical manner, I'd probably go for "Mnemosyne". If I wanted either performer by themselves, there is a wide selection available, safe in their usual genres.

Mnemosyne is by no means a bad album, I'm happy I have both. I like Jazz, I also like sacred music (and rock, folk, heavy metal, punk, reggae, rockabilly, etc etc etc).

I give Officium 5 stars, and Mnemosyne 3.
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on 7 October 2000
I was originally played this by a friend and I knew right away that it was an album I had to have. The vocals are so pure and clear and when Jan Garbarek flows in with the sax it takes your breath away. This is an album which moves me every time I listen to it. If you haven't heard it before buy it now.
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on 31 October 2002
Words fail me to describe this music. I had already heard and loved the first collaboration of the Hilliards and Jan Garbarek, "Officium", and it completely changed my feelings toward sacred music: before listening - no interest whatsoever. After listening - completely hooked, and embarked on a trail that led through the Baltic mystics Part, Tormis and Vasks to early music, requiems, Soeur Marie Kaerouz...
Mnemosyne has the same affective power, but it also introduces other, more modern pieces, and the interweaving of the saxes and voices is utterly intoxicating. We're lucky pleasure like this is legal.
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on 23 October 2014
Gorgeous. The other-worldly sound of the singers and the jazz saxophone is a mix that one might expect to be jarring, but in fact each mode seems to enhance the other: the whole is better than the sum of its parts. The only problem I personally find is that I can.t listen to such beauty all at once; one track at a time, and then a break into the mundane world of ordinary noise is necessary.
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on 23 June 2008
I bought this CD and "Officium" some time ago and still marvel at the way the music transports me to another level! My particular favourite is the Tallis track, "O Lord in Thee is all my trust" - it is incredibly haunting and evocative, with the plaintive saxophone melody soaring away, tearing at your soul, and yet so uplifting. Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble really work well together, one complementing the other. I think you either love their musical expressions in these CDs or hate them - there is no in between!
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on 22 May 2005
I first heard this CD while listening to Classic FM, and was transfixed whilist listening to the radio in my office. If you are after a relaxing CD, that is different from all the main stream chillout albums that are produced en mass these days then this could be the CD for you. The powerful sound of the saxaphone and the haunting gregorian chants offer the listener a soundscape that is truely out of this world!! Even my Girlfriend who is a keen clubber wanted to listen to this CD after a night of partying...
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on 5 February 2014
Fantastically uplifting - a wonderful spiritual experience enhanced by the precision and technique of all the artists involved. A beautiful and evocative recording. A must have if ever there was one!
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on 18 June 2015
The mix of the alto sax and plain song is quite beautiful. Very expressive, the type of music to wash over you and refresh.
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on 16 December 2014
Excellent. Heard this on the radio and bought it immediately. Calming and mellifluous.
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