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Recorded in the Monastery of St. Gerold, which adds its own ambience to the project, these four fine vocalists along with Jan Garbarek -- one of the most innovative musicians that modern Europe has produced -- let the music flow through them and into the ears and souls of the listener. Garbarek's saxophone seamlessly integrates itself as an added voice -- a testament to the 'vocal' style of playing that has long distinguished his work.
There is no name for this music -- another fact pointed out by Potter in his notes -- and that's something that frees it from preconceptions and expectations. I strongly recommend to the potential listener to enter into this experience with as open a mind as possible -- there's a world of beauty, reverence and emotion waiting on this disc. It would be a shame to allow what might seem an odd combination of musicians and styles to colour its absorption.
Garbarek has ventured outside of the 'jazz' realm on other occasions -- notably, he has explored his Norwegian heritage by delving into traditional music (check out his amazing album ROSENSFOLE, with singer Agnes Buen Garnas). The Hilliard Ensemble has made many fine recordings, presenting music from a broad range of time and style and form. The two met recorded together again in 1998, producing the album MNEMOSYNE -- another beautiful, timeless work.
This CD is on my very short list of classical "desert island" discs and ranks right up there with Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma's HUSH for improvisational yet traditional music, with ingenious wrinkles thrown in. It's hard to call it straight classical, but it isn't exactly jazz, either. The styles are merged beautifully. The best metaphor I can think of would be a braid: separate entities intertwined and working together for a common goal and a common effect.
Anyone who claims to be a fan of good music--jazz, classical, or whatever--should check out this CD. It is a bit on the mellow side, so don't expect a Keith Jarrett improvisational explosion or a thunderous symphonic event. In the vein of the works of Anonymous 4, another spectacular classical vocal group, this CD is a meditative, almost spiritual experience. It will not disappoint!!
Horrified reactions are, however, in the minority, since this album has sold in immense quantities -- and the reason is the ravishing beauty of the music, which is accessible to anyone with musical ears.
As with several Garbarek recordings, the sax occasionally seems louder than necessary, but then Garbarek must be a difficult performer to record, since his tonal range is so huge.
The natural melodies that flow from Garbarek's three horns have always had an air of belonging half a millennium away from the present; and his genius as a performer enables him to add a fifth voice to these ancient compositions that I am certain the original composers would have found far less shocking than the modern listeners who think them sacrilegious.
This music is heavenly and indescribable, but I urge anyone on this page to listen to the samples (bearing in mind that the sound is ravishing on a proper stereo) and make up your own mind.
Music is nobody's loved old friend, but a great city that needs to keep growing for ever, and this is a wonderful new building to dwell in and perceive beauty.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a very special and unique work of music. I thoroughly enjoyed it and continue to do so. I highly recommend the experience.Published 2 months ago by Dennis Mickey
The most beautiful and unusual arrangement of sacred music and jazzPublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Let's be honest with one another - you're not purchasing this collection to change the way you feel about chanting. Read morePublished 15 months ago by D. Hukill
I first heard this late one night over the car radio - as a brand new release. I was entranced! So entranced that I waited with baited breath for the announcer to tell me what I... Read morePublished 17 months ago by TheraP
The sax is completely out of place, as someone crashing in without a clue as to what is going on, saying look at me, look at me.Published 22 months ago by WS
Thought it was just me.
Try to listen to this ensemble on a very sophisticated audio system which will render a real hearing of any recording. Read more
I heard this on cassette tape years ago and was blown away. That surprised me because I didn't like the Gregorian Chant-Techno-pop-thing that came out before this. Read morePublished on September 16, 2013 by UCA M20
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