One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS

John  TAVENER (b. 1944)
Requiem (2008) [34:44]
Mahāshakti for solo violin, tam-tam and strings (2003) [18:22]
Eternal Memory for cello and strings (1991) [9:55]
Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano); Andrew Kennedy (tenor); Josephine Knight (cello); Ruth Palmer (violin)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Chorus/Ian Tracey
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
rec. live, world premiere, 28 February 2008, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (Requiem); in session: 15 April 2008, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool (Mahashakti; Eternal Memory). DDD
EMI CLASSICS 2351342 [63:02]
Experience Classicsonline


John Tavener converted to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1977 convinced that it retained a “primordial essence” that the tired Western devotional traditions had lost. Increasingly oriental influences which we associate with timelessness have become part of the fabric of his music.

Just before I played this disc I had been reviewing another very recent Tavener release of two works from the turbulently active and more avant-garde 1970s. They are Canciones Españolas (1972) and Requiem for Father Malachy (1973) on Lyrita SRCD.311. Their complexity and sometimes spiky fracture is in contrast with these works from the last 18 years. Even so Tavener evidently espoused melody even then although it was through the prism of the times.

There are a number of Tavener requiems – four in all. The others are Celtic Requiem (1969), Father Malachy Requiem (1973), Akhmatova Requiem (1980) and the just issued 2008 Requiem.

Commissioned by Liverpool Culture Company as part of the 2008 European Capital of Culture programme the Requiem is to be performed in a cruciform hall. The cello needs to be placed in the centre with choir and brass in the East, strings, solo soprano and tenor in the West and percussion in the North and South. The audience should sit amid these forces.

Josephine Knight’s trembling unadorned high-lying cello introduces us to and also bids farewell to the 2008 Requiem. Knight’s line is touched in with the tinkle of spare and gentle bells. At the start this is soon joined by the pure-voiced Elin Manahan Thomas and the choir. The choir and brass toll out a bell figure and are joined by the impassioned tenor – here the mercilessly tested Andrew Kennedy. The stratospheric Advaita Vedanta (trs. 3 and 5) raptly explores dizzy Allegri-like heights via the choir and the rapt Thomas and Kennedy. This is followed by the groaning and furious abrasion of the Dies Irae of Kali’s Dance. Between short paragraphs of this dancing fury the tenor and the serpentine cello and strings muse more quietly on destruction. Towards the end of the prayer-like Interlude (tr. 6) for orchestra and solo cello there is a moment of bell-dominated animation that suggests inspiration from Messiaen and Tippett. The final Ananda (tr. 7) is lovely moment, hypnotic, ecstatic, unbombastic and spiritual. It makes joyously irresistible use of the high registers of the soprano, choir and cello in a fine gradient pulsing crescendo and a moving decrescendo.

The least oriental work here is Eternal Memory for cello and strings. It’s the oldest piece here and the shortest. It is not at all holy minimalist but in its ten minutes arches from and to an inward and reverential melody recalling the chant at the start of Tchaikovsky’s 1812. In between the work rises to an episode of Shostakovich-like brutality which seems almost shameful by the side of its buttressing introspection.

More finely and vulnerably spun in gleaming misty silver is the Mahāshakti for solo violin, tam-tam and strings. This slow-blooming music is a heartbeat away from the religious mysteries of Alan Hovhaness; the tam-tam’s barely perceptible impacts underlines the reference. It also has a harmonic softness that reminds me of the Vaughan Williams Tallis and Lark and the tender Wenceslas Chorale of Josef Suk. Ruth Palmer sustains the rapt atmosphere – the unhurried arabesque; the modest yet confident invocation.
The composer’s notes are supportive but short on factual material.
Tavener here speaks through his music as sincere spiritual melodist not minimalist.

Rob Barnett


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month



From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.