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3.8 out of 5 stars
10
3.8 out of 5 stars
The Miners' Hymns
Format: Audio CD|Change
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 November 2014
After a couple of dense and rather difficult albums (Fordlandia, And In The Endless Pause) Johann Johannsson has emerged with a spectacularly passionate collection of tracks which form a kind of requiem to working-class lives. Replete with spirituality, these songs are also filled with hope, where Fordlandia was a description of failure and obliteration.

A great success, in my opinion, even though these tracks appear to be the leftovers from the show. I am a Johansson fan, and very excited to hear what he does next.

Highly recommended.
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on 26 June 2011
Contrary to much comment I felt that 'Fordlandia' was the weakest of Johan Johannsson's pieces to date and revealed some of his limitations - repetition without development can sometimes sound just ... repetitious. However, he has had a return to form with last year's 'And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees' and now with 'The Miner's Hymns'.

At times dark and brooding it finally reaches an epiphany of affirmation and hope amongst despair. I have yet to see how it works with the video images but it works eminently well as a stand alone piece.
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on 26 May 2012
"Francis, William, 14 Apr 1853, aged 13, Driver, he had left his work to do the duty of another boy who was employed as a putter, and being unacquainted with the place, his head became jammed between the tub and the timber supporting the roof, he died instantly."

I remember living in Durham, a beautiful, haunted place, and seeing a single old photograph of mineworkers walking up a cobbled street, Durham cathedral in the background, and wondering what ages the cathedral walls have seen. I remember by father pointing to a small wall in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, another now-dead centre for coal mining, saying that as a child he had seen smoke rising from behind it, looked over, and seen a row of miners sitting behind it waiting for the bus, hunkered down, out of their element in the freedom of the open sky.

"Bolton, James, 29 Apr 1857, (accident: 18 Apr 1857), Onsetter, he was cleaning out the cage hole when the brakesman lowered the cage on him. Signals were made to get the cage taken up, but, in his confusion, the brakesman lowered it a second time onto Bolton, who suffered severe crush injuries and died on 29 April."

This music is a kind of a war requiem. War requiems are written after the war is over. What was just life for the people who have been made the subject of the music and film is a horror to us now, or so it is suggested. Horror is the inability to give order to, and see justice in, a recognisable reality, to wit: men have died for us. Men have suffered stunted, curtailed, servile lives; have suffered innumerable little deaths, for us.

"Taylor, John Thomas, 24 Nov 1902, aged 16, Driver, when driving, his pony crossed out and the limber end caught and displaced a prop which let down a stone upon him and killed him."

The materials - Durham Cathedral's organ, the brass bands so well representing the voice of mining communities, the archive footage used in the film, the grim Britten-like themes which pervade much of the music - rise out of the subject matter, with as much authenticity as one could really hope for. They are of the period; but the feeling, the motivating cause, is all our own. The past, we have learned, is something that ought to be feared, because it cannot be trusted to stay dead.

The end of the piece at last grows into an anthem, and in the film is backed by footage of the labour unions marching in festival through the door of the cathedral. It speaks of justice being reborn, and so too should it speak about our place in the present. Let it be our duty to offer our past the hand of friendship.

"Qui passus es pro nobis, miserere nobis."
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on 5 January 2014
As often when i'me on your site i look to see if any new CD's from artists which i follow have released something new. As in the case of Ludovico Einaudi. Ludovico technique is diffinitly not Ludovico Einaudi! I bought the CD, "the pig in the sack" as they say in Sweden; without listeninging beforehand. This was a big mistake! A mistake i have made with you on too many earlier occasions. If there was a way to listen to CD's Before hand then i wouldn't continually be making this mistake and would be buying more CD's from you. As it is i'me out on other sites to listen beforehand, unfortunatly they often times don't have the CD'd imé interested in. Call it what you will but i call it bad costomer service.
Sincerly, John Biddle
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on 31 July 2014
I bought this because it was used in a documentary on William Golding. As it turned out the best pieces were commissioned for the show itself by George Fenton and appear to be unavailable. I am as sick as a parrot.
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on 30 November 2014
Love it !
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on 23 April 2015
Thanks
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on 5 September 2014
Not quite what I expected. Good music.
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on 2 August 2012
I like the film very much and the soundtrack adds a lot (at least in places) but on CD I found the music pretty boring and monotonous.

It does rise to a bit of a triumphant (and tuneful) ending but the first few tracks just drone on and on and are very minimalist in content with enormous amounts of repetition.

Before you slam me it is a matter of personal taste - but I can't see my self listening to if very often.
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on 16 March 2014
the music was not as i expected.traditional mining hymns but of a modern contemporary style.very disappointing.better content description should be provided.
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