Tas: "Miserere"

 Rudi Tas (1957- )

Rudi Tas (1957- )

"At the start of Belgian composer Rudi Tas' haunting setting of the Miserere, a solo cello rises out of a vocal cluster. The music gradually becomes more intense; the voices plead for mercy. The work ends with a fading vocal cluster that reveals the solo cello's high E." - G. Schirmer, Inc.

Miserere nobis / Have mercy on us

Deus noster miserere / God is our mercy

Exaudi nos / Answer us / Hear us

Vasks: "Plainscapes"

 

“Because it has given me so many unique and joyous moments, the natural beauty of Latvia has been the stimulus for much of my work.

The flatlands are one of the dominant features of Latvian landscape, a place where you can see the horizon and observe the starlit sky.

Plainscapes is constructed of three vocalises, which are separated by small interludes. The underlying text is merely a suggestion, and can be changed to suit the individual. The dynamic of this diatonic, meditative composition remains almost exclusively piano, however, at the end of the third vocalist, the character changes. An increasing crescendo leads to the climax-to the vision of nature’s awakening.”

- Pēteris Vasks

 Pēteris Vasks (1946- )

Pēteris Vasks (1946- )

Bennett: "A Farewell to Arms"

   Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012)

Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012)

The helmet now an hive for bees becomes,
And hilts of swords may serve for spiders' looms;
     Sharp pikes may make
     Teeth for a rake;
And the keen blade, th'arch enemy of life,
Shall be degraded to a pruning knife.
     The rustic spade
     Which first was made
For honest agriculture, shall retake
Its primitive employment, and forsake
     The rampires steep
     And trenches deep.
Tame conies in our brazen guns shall breed,
Or gentle doves their young ones there shall feed.
     In musket barrels
     Mice shall raise quarrels
For their quarters.  The ventriloquious drum,
Like lawyers in vacations, shall be dumb.
     Now all recruits,
     But those of fruits,
Shall be forgot; and th'unarmed soldier
Shall only boast of what he did whilere,
     In chimneys' ends
     Among his friends.

- Ralph Knevet (1600-1671)

Tavener: "Svyati"

  John Tavener (1944-2013)

John Tavener (1944-2013)

"I began to write Svyati in early 1995: while sketching it, Iearned that John Williams, father of Jane, my dear friend and publisher, was dying. I could not refrain from dedicating it to Jane and to the memory of her father. 

The text is in Church Slavonic, and it is used at almost every Russian Orthodox service, perhaps most poignantly after the congregation have kissed the body in an open coffin at an Orthodox funeral. The choir sings as the coffin is closed and borne out of the church, followed by the mourners with lighted candles. The cello represents the Priest or Ikon of Christ, and should play at a distance from the choir, perhaps at the opposite end of the building. As is Greek drama, choir and priest are in dialogue with each other. Since the cello represents the Ikon of Christ, it must be played without any sentiment of a Western character, but should derive from the chanting of the Eastern Orthodox Church."

- program notes by Tavener

 

Svyátuiee Bózhyea / Holy God.

Svyátuiee Kryéapkeeee / Holy and Strong.

Svyátuiee Byeazsmyéartnuiee / Holy and Immortal.

Pomélooee nas / Have mercy upon us.