2. Caedmon Paraphrase (Bede)
3. Agnus Dei
4. Caedmon's "Creation Hymn"
5. In Paradisum
6. Song I
7. Song II
8. Song III
9. Song IV
10. Song V
11. Song VI
12. Song VII
13. Song VIII
Gavin Bryars's Cadman Requiem is a somber work,
even allowing for its genre. Written for Bill Cadman,
a longtime friend of Bryars who died in the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing,
the piece makes miles of thoughtful power out of wavering,
long string tones that act as a backdrop for astounding vocals from the Hilliard Ensemble. The slowed physical motions emphasize the piece's gravity, and the strings are scripted just in line with the voices, favoring the low end with bruising effect. There are fearful, almost panic-rich moments, but each recedes into long tenor-range lines that stretch to the sonic horizon. Having written such similarly somber pieces as Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet and The Sinking of the Titanic, Bryars is no stranger to extended works; but here he juxtaposes his Requiem with eight love poems from Etel Adnan. Sung by soprano Valdine Anderson, these works get their force from the casual eroticism and passion of their language as much as from the vocal delivery. Their opulence is unmistakable and strangely in line with the CD's opener. The guitar-framed episodes of "Epilogue from Wonderlawn," which the composer scripted for choreographer Laurie Booth, close out this magnificent collection. What excellent proof it offers that Bryars, who's labeled "difficult" by many,
can write for the broadest of audiences and still be meaningful.
While I enjoy Gavin Bryars, in general I have to be in the perfect mood to listen intently
or he dissolves into noise. That is not true of any of the pieces on this disk.
The title piece, Cadman Requiem is a magnificant piece of deep prolonged sounds
creating a dark and reflective Requiem. This is music perfectly fitted to the words.
The Hilliard Ensemble does a splendid job in fitting the voices to the deep strings.
The Adnan Songbook puts six of the Lebanese-American poet's poems to music.
Bryars lets the words, the voice take the spotlight against a very quiet and melodic
Epilogue From Wonderlawn is a varied piece, approaching the musical style that
forces one to truly concentrate on Bryars' music.
If you've ever been curious regarding Bryars' work,
this is an excellent CD to introduce his music to you.
If you like his music, this will quickly move up high on your favorites list.