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<<  -- 3 --  Malcolm Miller    COSMIC FAILURE


The work proceeds through repetitions of the three sonorities in sequence, each time the choirs are louder, their orchestral accompaniment richer, with emphatic fanfares in brass in the last few repeats, and an organ in the very last, and shortest statement. A key, symbolic element in the ritual procession of textures is the counterpoint of asymmetrical complex rhythms in two separate percussion groups -- the first, bandir drum with the Soprano and the second with the choirs -- featuring timpani. Though intended to 'permeate' the piece, these 'complex and esoteric' rhythmic patterns of the ancient Indian 'Rig-Veda' came across weakly, very indistinctly, a rattling annoyance to prevailing textures: compositionally inept and awkward. For all its symbolism and potential splendour, the effect overall is one of simplistic form and thin content. The material is too repetitive, the use of a Priest's voice questionable in the context of its concert hall performance, the transformations too banal, a mere crescendo and pumping of brass fanfares onto choral chords. The harmony of the choirs is both pompous and clichéd, far from the splendour and sensuality often found in Tavener's choral works.

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Copyright © 12 August 2001 Malcolm Miller, London, UK





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