Arvo Pärt, Barry Guy, Elizabeth Liddle, Ivan Moody, James MacMillan, Joanne Malf, Michael Finnissy & John Casken, Morton Feldman, Paul Robinson, Piers Hellawell, Veljo Tormis: Works by Barry Guy, Morton Feldman, Ivan Moody, Piers Hellawell, Paul Robinson,

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Arvo Pärt,Barry Guy,Elizabeth Liddle,Ivan Moody,James MacMillan,Joanne Malf,Michael Finnissy & John Casken,Morton Feldman,Paul Robinson,Piers Hellawell,Veljo Tormis
LABELS: ECM
WORKS: Works by Barry Guy, Morton Feldman, Ivan Moody, Piers Hellawell, Paul Robinson, Veljo Tormis, James MacMillan, Arvo Pärt, Elizabeth Liddle, Joanne Malf, Michael Finnissy & John Casken
PERFORMER: The Hilliard EnsembleBarry Guy (double bass)
CATALOGUE NO: 453 259-2

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The four voices of the Hilliard Ensemble – countertenor, two tenors and baritone – sound uniquely themselves whether in medieval or contemporary music. The 12 composers featured on this double album provide a rich variety of invention that through its fascinating amalgam of past and present promises further treasure to come. Excepting the brief Feldman-Rilke setting of Only, Elizabeth Liddle’s Whale Rant, Paul Robinson’s Byronic Incantation and Barry Guy’s Mallarmé-inspired Un coup de dés, the majority of these pieces, through their composers’ choice of words, reflect in some way the Hilliard’s early music experience.

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In Sharp Thorne, John Casken shows a striking equality of thought between words by Sylvia Townsend Warner and the 15th-century Woefully Arrayed. Three composers – James MacMillan, Michael Finnissy and Ivan Moody – employ devotional or liturgical Latin, while Piers Hellawell’s The Hilliard Songbook has the initiative to set a text by Elizabethan miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard, after whom the group is named. Veljo Tormis’s Kullervo’s Message and moving accounts of Pärt’s And One of the Pharisees… and Summa complete an intimately recorded ensemble portrait. Nicholas Williams