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  • Tavener: Eternity's Sunrise
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Tavener: Eternity's Sunrise Import

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Audio CD, Import, April 13, 1999
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Product Details

  • Performer: Patricia Rozario, Julia Gooding, George Mosely, Andrew Manze
  • Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music
  • Conductor: Paul Goodwin
  • Composer: John Tavener
  • Audio CD (April 13, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B00000IFRT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,507 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Eternity's Sunrise
2. Song Of The Angel
3. Petra: A Ritual Dream
4. Sappho: Lyrical Fragments
5. Funeral Canticle

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In November 2013, Sir John Tavener, one of Britain's most celebrated composers, passed away at the age of 69. He is perhaps best known for his work The Protecting Veil, which was played at the funeral of Princess Diana. Originally released in 1999, this acclaimed recording features a wide-ranging selection of Tavener's music. The title work, Eternity's Sunrise, was commissioned by The Academy of Ancient Music to mark their 25th anniversary and was the composer's first work for period instruments. Performed by The Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Paul Goodwin, the album also includes four other major works: Sappho: Lyrical Fragments, Funeral Canticle, Petra: a ritual dream and Song of the Angel. Composed for Yehudi Menuhin in 1995, Song of the Angel features solos by soprano Patricia Rozario and violinist Andrew Manze.

Listening to Tavener's music requires not so much an open mind as one that has been emptied. Onto this blank slate, or tabula rasa, Tavener projects two sorts of basic materials: ecstatic melismas or slow-moving, simple chants. At first, the effects can be pleasant, as the popularity of discs such as The Protecting Veil no doubt attests; the sounds are usually sweet and often soothing. Soon, the lack of movement becomes evident, at which point listeners can either fall into appreciatively soporific contemplation or regard themselves as victims of a musical form of the ancient Chinese water torture. The use of period instruments and performers (most notably Patricia Rozario and Andrew Manze) changes nothing about the description offered above. Expert singers wail, a few delicate plucks of the harp are transferred to the theorbo, and such fanciful titles as "Petra: A Ritual Dream" suggest far more than they deliver. Listeners seeking mystically oriented music that goes beyond New Age pabulum might prefer to try Messiaen's Éclairs sur l'Au-Delà or Trois petites liturgies de la Presence Divine. --Paul Turok

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "ragamala78" on December 16, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Just the idea of this album should intrigue listeners: The Academy of Ancient Music commissions a new work to be on old instruments. Ideally it would strectch both the composers and the players...which I think is achieved.
The title piece "Eternity's Sunrise" is so arrestingly beautiful that I have often shed tears listening to it. The piece eliminates all pretense and is just naked emotion. It doesn't even matter that the words to Blake's poem are unintelligble without a lyric sheet. One can readily understand this subtly shifting piece and the yearning of both composer and poet to reach the Heavenly Kingdom. The handbells coupled with orchestra provide the perfect platform for soprano Patricia Rozario's voice to soar (and it can REALLY soar.)
"Song of the Angel" hinges on a concept foreign to western classical music (as much of Tavener's music does) in that it takes one word or a simple phrase and concentrates on it for the whole piece trying to bring both performer and listener into an exhalted spiritual state. While sounding nothing like it, it is similar in concept to druphad or qawwali singing...both traditions of religious devotion. Tavener hasn't Christianized those forms (because this piece sounds nothing like either of those) but they are similar in aim. It is somewhat similar to the "Jesus Prayer" in the Orthodox tradition in that it helps to have God ever-present in your conciousness.
"Petra: A Ritual Dream" is one of the more musically uneventful pieces on the CD. There is certainly some beautiful moments, but it just doesn't stack up against the first two pieces. Lyrically, it is quite intriguing. This piece, and many other pieces on this CD touch on some of the more esoteric aspects of Eastern Christianity.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This CD has some things going for it- five tracks, all of which are premiere recordings; a chance to hear the very special sound of modern music played on baroque instruments; more superb interpretations of Tavener's solo soprano writing from Patricia Rozario; and an insight into the mystical qualities of Tavener's music (the booklet notes are by the composer himself). Tavener has offered his highest praise for the CD, and I agree with him that it is "beautiful". However, for many it may prove a touch tedious- I'm thinking in particular of "Funeral Canticle", which must surely be one of the 'ne plus ultras' of minimalist composition in that it is 24 minutes of the same pattern of chords (the Kliros) over and over and over, with refreshing but relatively shorter phrases at the start of each verse. On the other hand, I urge listeners to look at this piece in context before being too judgemental- it was originally composed (in bits) for the funeral of Tavener's father and it confronts that loss in a very calm and rational manner. A great piece for relaxation, I think- and you will be hard pushed to find a more heart-rending moment than the beginning of the first Kliros, when the strings join the voices in an abrupt yet touching change of key. Three other tracks are also minimal in content- "Eternity's Sunrise", "Song of the Angel" and "Petra: a ritual dream". Of those, the first is undoubtedly the most effective- it is the only work that was originally commissioned by the Academy of Ancient Music and Tavener takes advantage of their full range of instruments (whereas all the other works seem to feature strings only).Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By expertguy on May 28, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Yet more incredibly beautiful choral music by John Tavener (who can forget the recessional music accompanying Princess Di's coffin as it left Westminster Abbey). The AAM do it full justice. Highest recommendation.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Gottner on April 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I once bought a 2 CD set with that title, but if the producers had listened to this CD, they would have had to call their product "The second most relaxing classical album..."
This is tavener at his best, and probably one of his most accessable works. Those unfamiliar with Tavener should start here. Tracks 1-3 & 5 are very beautiful and is among the most tranquil music I've heard (and this includes most "New Age" music.) The lyrics that go along with the music are also very beautiful.
Track 4 is more dark and sorrowful. Some people like it, for the change of pace. if you don't just program your CD player to skip it.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As of right now, I have only listened to this CD and two others from Tavener. The others are "Lament for Jerusalem" and "Lamentations and Praises." These two pieces have become some of my favorites from the 20th/21st Century. Two of the five pieces on this CD have also become some of my favorites, mostly because of their excessively heavenly qualities. The four-minute "Song of the Angel" and the 24-minute "Funeral Canticle" are more than just choral works: they're songs that sound like they've actually been made in heaven itself. I would never forget these two even if I had been forced to.

The other three pieces here are sensational indeed, although "Eternity's Sunrise" does not live up to the others. It's very otherworldly, with a typical Tavener flow, but it is not as inspirational as the others on this disc. "Petra" is something to look forward to, as it is gives a no-nonsense attitude from beginning to end. It reminds me of the softer passages in Kodaly's "Psalmus Hungaricus" and Stravinsky's "Symphony of Psalms." Finally, "Sappho" is completely different to all four pieces. The sound is dark, almost nightmarish, and it shows that Tavener does not do the same thing more than twice.

You simply can't go wrong with maestro Paul Goodwin and The Academy of Ancient Music. Even though this is the first time I've heard from this conductor and orchestral ensemble, I can tell that they really get into the music. The soloists Rosario, Gooding, Mosley, and Manze give extraordinary performances throughout the CD. I really hope they're doing very well with their musical careers right now.

These world premiere recordings are something to look forward to if you're a fan of Tavener, or if you're a fan of 20th century church music.
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