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on 19 April 2008
There are four earlier recordings of this piece: the first from 1975 (to fit on one side on vinyl), the second from 1990. The 1990 version was an hour long track, and sonically 'challenging' - it was partially recorded in a huge water tank and the music evolves/degenerates into an atonal rumble that requires a good sound system. But it's a fascinating, raw, experience, if hard to find now. The 1994 Point Music version took elements of that recording and was a smoother experience, with lots of fascinating sound effects. It was handily divided into sections - my favourite being the one including bass clarinet, as it resembles Bryars's less experimental works, and is haunting all on its own. The Smith Quartet's 'Ghost Stories' album of 2007 included a fifteen-minute reworking. All of these versions are different, all valid, and can be bought safely without fear of duplication. The spoken samples on each, for instance, are obscured to different degrees, and the opening and closing sections each offer an alternative conceptual reading of the piece.
This new version is the most radical. The piece as already recorded does not even register as the same until over ten minutes in. Preceding it is a strange radio-static crackle not unlike that which opens Pink Floyd's 'Division Bell' - the idea of 'communication' being behind both. My copy does not have points, as Amazon indicates, but is one long seventy-two minute track. Sound effects and individual instruments are well defined, with some fascinating new additions and expansions.
What the piece has in common with the others is the enfolding string quartet wash. I am lucky never to have found it repetitive, but always curiously comforting. Long may this piece have even more interpreters!
This disc is packaged in a greetings card-sized folder, with the disc itself in a paper sleeve. Full notes are printed, to help newcomers understand the brilliant idea behind this ongoing aural artwork.
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on 22 March 2008
The first 4 minutes of this work starts with the sounds of crackling.An ancient blues record from the 20s?.The sound of ice breaking?
Not really its representative of the wireless static as the sounds of time passed and it plays a part in the story of the Titanic.
Gavin Bryars opus of trance inducing and dreamy evocation of the Titanic's final moments is a work of conceptual genius which began after being inspired by one Harold Bride the surviving wireless operator who half remembered the name of the hymn the orchestra was playing as the ship went down-the Episcopal hymn Autumn and this weaves in and out until the music ends.
Voices appear at times of survivors,sounds of morse code tapping and even bottles rolling across the deck.
This 2007 remake of the original Sinking of the Titanic is a collaboration between the Italian chamber group Alter Ego,the Danish experimentalist Philip Jeck and Bryars himself who plays bass.
And after a music box theme it stops dead
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VINE VOICEon 30 July 2011
As other reviewers have noted, the choice of sample for this download is unfortunate. Indeed, anyone approaching this piece for the first time needs to have patience as well as plenty of time. The introductory static lasts four minutes, to be replaced by low string sounds which develop into a sad, hymn-like tune of great beauty that is developed through the rest of the piece. Bryars has referred to the ship's orchestra which continued to play throughout the sinking. A listener might see this also as some kind of affirmation sustained throughout the process of dissolution, marked by events such the noise made by people scrambling for lifeboats when the order to abandon ship was given. There has been much debate about what they played, but as a passenger's testimony, quoted as the piece progresses, notes, they did play to the very end. In a later documentary (on YouTube) the composer explains the final section in terms of the ship's orchestra playing under the waves, a picture evoked in the 'watery' sounds he has created.

The approaching centenary of the 'Titanic' disaster makes this a timely offering from Amazon, available as a download at a knock-down price.
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on 14 January 2013
I know the 25 minute version well but this is even better. I would suggest playing it on an aircraft, when all the other noises will just become part of the overall soundscape. And even more atmospheric if you are flying over the Atlantic and/or through turbulence. The final half hour is very moving, even if for the same length of minimalism I prefer Part's Passio.
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on 5 February 2010
Esta obra formidable me acompaña desde hace años.

En mi infantil imaginario el Titanic navegaba, y se hundía, ente juegos y sueños (me recuerdo niño, frente al Palace de Madrid: ¡¡1912!! pensaba, lo construyeron el mismo año...) Así que, años después, al encontrarme por casualidad aquel vinilo con el mágico nombre de aquel barco, no dudé un instante en comprarlo. Fui a casa, con una
cierta ansiedad, y lo posé sobre el plato. Quedé desarmado, reconocido desnudo, no daba crédito.
Desde esa primera, intensa y ya corta versión, editada en Obscure junto con Jesus Blood never failed me yet, navego y me sumerjo, música, cada vez, en la insondable belleza del mar.

A veces, el ser humano crea obras que le trascienden, que contienen la belleza, la luz y la muerte. ésta es para mí una de ellas. Su capacidad evocadora, la sutileza, la hondura de aquel último y definitivo himno; la nave que se parte, el horror, el grito y el recuerdo, la melancolía y la memoria. Las lágrimas en mis ojos, tributo al mar.

Esta última visita de Gavin Bryars a su obra introduce elementos nuevos que, desde su inicio, dan una nueva
dimensión al viaje. Grabado en directo en el Teatro Malibrán de Venezia, comienza con una fundamental aportación
de Philip Jeck, como es su caracteríco e hipnótico sonido de vinilo, crepitante y cíclico: la radio comunicando, entre la vida y la muerte, entre la superficie y el fondo del océano. Es también el hielo quebrado, las brasas en la chimenea. Esta paleta de sonidos y emociones enmarca la propuesta.
Hasta el minuto 11'40", en que suena la primera campana, los sonidos de Jeck entrelazan cortas y obsesivas frases con largas notas tenidas en las cuerdas, timbres huecos, extraños ecos... y la campana, que te despierta de la memoria y te trae al viaje, que siempre sucede.
En 13'30" suena, por vez primera, el tema central, germen primero de la obra.
En 17'38", lo que en la versión de 1990 se confiaba a los temple-blocks, se inicia aquí con un timble más agudo, quizás una clave, que recordara a un sonar. Despues, sí, ecos de temple-blocks
En 19'30", la voz de esa mujer, tan familiar, que habla entre cascabeles, campo y ovejas. Memoria de la memoria. Y a veces lloro cuando ella, Dios mío! canta, tan afinada, tan empastada con todo, alejándose, sumergida con cristales que tintinean.
Hacia el 24' un piano, más cristales, y la marimba, que nos vuelca de nuevo al tema, que ahora se ha vuelto despojado, cercano e íntimo, entre rumor de olas y viento lejano.
29'30" El tema se repite nuevamente. Cristales, leve cresc. y.... Grillos!! Cigarras!! Maravilloso.
37'30". Tema. La multitud y el miedo.
49'. Clarinete solo. Archi ostinati..
..... ...... ..... ..... .... .... ... ..
..... ...... ..... ..... el viaje infinito.

En fin. Que cada cual descubra dentro de sí lo que esta obra enorme y profunda abre, mas allá de la mano del propio Bryars, y más todavía del sincero y encendido comentario de quien escribe.
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on 20 December 2012
I bought an earlier version of this piece on the Obscure record label back in the 1980s which I believe has been re-issued on CD. It has developed considerably since then and I was lucky enough to see Gavin Bryars and Philip Jecks perform this version at the Barbican on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic being hit by the iceberg. It was an astonishing performance and this is a beautiful reminder of that evening at a bargain price.
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on 26 March 2013
Excellent, thoughtful music. Unusual, but very emotional. A piece to be savoured slowly over many many repeat playings. Buy, enjoy!
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on 18 August 2013
This is not background music but a disc you enjoy most if you listen without interruptions and let your imagination loose.
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on 5 July 2015
excellent, I had checked out the positive reviews beforehand and was not disappointed.
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on 19 June 2016
Haunting, transporting.
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