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BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS

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'... "The World" and the six short Russian songs
show Tavener at his best ...'

The Vanbrugh Quartet plays John Tavener -
with PATRIC STANDFORD

 

John Tavener: Diodia (c) 2001 Hyperion Records Ltd

A certain Major Hime, in an article entitled 'Wagnerism: a Protest', famously quoted Rossini as saying 'Wagner has beautiful moments but awful quarter hours'. If Wagner's comments on fellow composers were not so unreliable, I don't doubt he may have said much the same about Rossini, perhaps basing his criticism on the insubstantial harmonic and contrapuntal substance of the music. I have similar responses to John Tavener's work, even to the extent of expanding considerably Rossini's 'quarter hours'. Whilst quite prepared to acknowledge the fault as being in me, I find it frustrating to be presented (as I have so often been by students over the last 30 years!) with beautiful fragments, embryonic gems, seeds that seem full of potential vigour, used for nothing more than repetition. But there it is; I suppose I'm old, odorous and peculiar and perhaps should be turning in early with a hot drink and my bit of Brahms, keeping out of the way of the young whose hyperactive attention spans need this sort of ambient calm. There is no doubt that the Vanbrugh Quartet, now 14 years old and resident artists at University College, Cork and Radio Eireann, have given Tavener as splendid a performance on this new CD as they have, in the past, given John McCabe and the late Robert Simpson.

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Copyright © 13 May 2001 Patric Standford, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - HYPERION CDA67217

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