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The reason Tavener gave for writing his new work The Bridegroom was simply 'because Levon Chilingirian asked me!' And aren't we glad he did.

The composer sets texts that are sung during the first three days of Holy Week in the Orthodox Church:

'Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight...'; and 'Thy bridal chamber I see adorned, O my Saviour, and I have no wedding garment that I may enter there.'

The singers and instrumentalists were placed on either side of the stage as Tavener wants to achieve a spatial effect. One has to say that the QEH is not the ideal venue for this but it gives an impression of what it would sound like in the vast spaces of a cathedral.

Tavener uses the quartet as a 'wordless choir', the melodies of each group intertwining throughout. He makes use of the enviable vocal range of Anonymous 4 to stunning effect -- the tessiture of the top line is particularly high. This is not a work for the faint-hearted to perform. The reverential singing of Anonymous 4 combined with an innate understanding of the composer's music from the Chilingirians added a luminous quality to the performance that will stay long in the memory. This music returns us to a primordial state of being and a sense of what we might have lost along the way. The work was received with rapturous applause.

Copyright © 24 October 2000 Shirley Ratcliffe, Norfolk, UK





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