Choir Of King's College, Cambridge - Ikos: Gorecki, Tavener, Part

Wednesday 1st February 1995
Choir Of King's College, Cambridge - Ikos: Gorecki, Tavener, Part

STYLE: Choral
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: EMI Classics 72435550962

Reviewed by John Irvine

It is now a stock-in-trade cliché to group Gorecki, Tavener and Part into a single category: the so-called Holy Minimalists. However it is readily apparent from this disc that in their devotional works they share a similar concern for preserving and promoting Tradition, and achieving a holy and spiritual musical rhetoric in an otherwise secular age. From being voices crying in the wilderness, they have been promoted to the status of spokespersons for a generation seeking spiritual truth and beauty in art and music. In the meantime, they write for the traditions they understand and cherish: Gorecki's Polish Catholicism, Tavener's adopted Orthodoxy and Part's strange mixture of Slavonic Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Pietism. Their music is used to worship God - perhaps at a distance, but always with a great sense of awe, wonder and respect. The use of Gregorian Chant to link the items on this disc helps to weave an almost seamless garment of holy and luminous praise, a single ikon of great beauty composed of many individual brush strokes. Each piece on this disc sacrifices itself for a greater purpose. The whole of the disc is truly greater than the parts: an hour of incomparable vocal music, captivating in its beauty, spellbinding in its purity and luminosity, moving in its simplicity, heartfelt in its conviction. These performances set a new standard of interpretation for the works of these composers. In a previous review in Cross Rhythms I wondered if it would be possible to have a disc which could perfectly capture and represent faithfully the similarities between Gorecki, Tavener and Part as well as the subtle differences which distinguish them. This is the closest to perfection that you are likely to find.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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