Ikon of Light: John Tavener CD

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Performers: The Sixteen

Conductor: Harry Christophers

Ikon of Light: John Tavener CD

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Performers: The Sixteen
Conductor: Harry Christophers

Lavish soundscapes, like The Protecting Veil, may have caught the public imagination. Tavener's real genius is encapsulated in his two Blake settings. Just as the true believer can find more profound beauty in a tiny icon than a church full of frescos, so in these short works Tavener's spiritual and musical vision seems more intense than in his more expansive works. What's more, he reaches into the very soul of Blake's famous but none the less obscure poetry. How perfectly does his music match the simple questioning of The Lamb while The Tiger vividly portrays the peculiar juxtaposition of virility and innocence (with the music of The Lamb echoed in the line ''Did He who made the Lamb make thee?'').

It is not just the Blake settings that show Tavener focusing his writing without losing that intangible sense of depth and mystery which so informs the larger scores, and whether it is the gloriously full-bodied crescendo in the Hymn to the Mother of God, or the deliberate absence of colour and expression in Eonia, The Sixteen seem to have an instinctive feel for the inner spirit of the music, creating compelling performances of all six of these miniature a cappella masterpieces.

1. Hymn to the Mother of God by John Tavener
2. Hymn for the Dormition of the Mother of God by John Tavener
3. The Lamb "Little Lamb, who made thee?" by John Tavener
4. The Tiger by John Tavener
5. Ikon of Light by John Tavener
6. Today the Virgin by John Tavener
7. Eonia by John Tavener

Total Time: 67:16:00

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