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Jan Garbarek & The Hilliard Ensemble

Waltons World Masters Series

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When Saturday, 22 October 2011
Where St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
Presented by Mintaka Music and Waltons World Masters

Jan Garbarek & The Hilliard Ensemble

Jan Garbarek • Saxophones
David James • Countertenor
Rogers Covey-Crump • Tenor
Steven Harrold • Tenor
Gordon Jones • Baritone

‘It was a spine-tingling coup-de-théâtre that set the tone for a mesmeric hour and a half. Each piece, each experiment with moving voices around in the space of the building, built on the previous one, until the concert ended with the sheer perfection of the 17th-century Scottish lament “Remember Me My Dear” gradually receding into silence.’
– The Times

‘It’s hard to think of music more suited to the new age of austerity: a soundtrack to snow, heartbreak, devotion and sacrifice. The remarkable combination of human voice and astringent, often skirling saxophone remains as haunting as when the group’s debut album unexpectedly sold 1.5 million copies 16 years ago.’
– The Daily Telegraph

Jan Garbarek & The Hilliard Ensemble

The inspired bringing together of Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble has resulted in consistently inventive music-making since 1993. Their unprecedented Officium album, with Garbarek’s saxophone as a free-ranging ‘fifth voice’ with the Ensemble, gave the first indications of the musical scope and emotional power of this combination. Mnemosyne (1998) took the story further, expanding the repertoire beyond ‘early music’ to embrace works both ancient and modern.

Now, after another decade of shared experiences, comes Officium Novum, the third album from Garbarek/Hilliard, recorded, like its distinguished predecessors, in the St. Gerold monastery. A central focus this time is the music of Armenia, based on the adaptations of Komitas Vardapet, pieces which draw upon both medieval sacred music and the bardic tradition of the Caucasus. The Hilliards have studied these pieces in the course of their visits to Armenia, and the modes of the music encourage some of Garbarek’s most impassioned playing. Alongside the Armenian pieces in the Officium Novum repertoire: Arvo Pärt’s Most Holy Mother of God in an a cappella reading, Byzantine chant, two pieces by Jan Garbarek, including a new version of We Are the Stars, as well as the Spanish Tres morillas and a new account of Perotin’s Alleluia, Nativitas. The freedom of interpretation is testimony to the way the project as a whole has grown since its introduction on ECM New Series, with the Hilliard Ensemble now very much involved in the music’s improvisational processes and implications.

Over the last eighteen years, Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble have given hundreds of concerts in many of the most beautiful cathedrals and churches of the world, and each one is unique. In the concert performances of Officium Novum the musicians draw their material largely from the disc but the programme content and order is never quite decided upon until the performers reach the venue and let the building – the sixth voice – speak to them.

Selected YouTube Videos

Jan Garbarek & The Hilliard Ensemble
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