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This was followed by Tavener's first string quartet, The Hidden Treasure written in memory of Mother Katherine and of a very dear friend of the composer, Sophie, who was killed in Greece.

The work dates back to 1989 and inhabits some of the same soundworld of The Protecting Veil of 1988. As in the latter the 'cello plays a pivotal role here beautifully performed by Philip de Groote.

Written in the form of 25 notes which Tavener describes as 'a Byzantine palindrome representing "Paradise",' it represents a journey from a Paradise lost to the 'unknown Paradise'. The keening sound of the upper strings provides a lasting memorial for those departed. Throughout the Chilingirian Quartet were deeply immersed in Tavener's unmistakeable soundworld.

Proving their versatility the quartet performed Stravinsky's Three Pieces and the Concertino, a one-movement mini concerto. The three short pieces -- dedicated to Ansermet -- are interesting as they could be regarded as Stravinsky's first foray into 'absolute' music stripping all pretentiousness and verbosity aside. Widely contrasted in character, the third piece -- entitled Canticle in the orchestral version -- reveals the influence of Russian Orthodoxy in the composer's music. The Chilingirian Quartet moved from Tavener's intensely introspective world into Stravinsky's rhythmically complex one with absolute ease.

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Copyright © 24 October 2000 Shirley Ratcliffe, Norfolk, UK





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