MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Buy through MusicWeb from £11.50 postage paid.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Musicweb Purchase button


John TAVENER (b.1944)
Canciones Españolas (1972) [16:23]
Requiem for Father Malachy (1973) [35:27]
James Bowman (counter-tenor); Kevin Smith (piano) (Canciones)
The King’s Singers; The Nash Ensemble/John Tavener
rec. Church of St John The Evangelist, Islington, London, 16-17 September 1975. ADD. originally released: RCA LP LRL1 5104.
LYRITA SRCD.311 [52:00]

Experience Classicsonline


John Tavener can be heard here in two works from the turbulently active 1970s.

The twelve Canciones Españolas are very short - the dozen being complete in less than 17 minutes. They set six Spanish folk songs concerned with love and death – rich pickings! These silvery flame-flickering slivers of sound are rife with vitality and with the redolence of Dufay and of the Trouvères. Some tracks might almost be pastiches but then we come to Dime a do tienes las mientes and to Pase el agua ma Julietta where a fractured shatter synthesises courtly dances. You hear this again in the stagger and grip of Interlude (VI) where held notes by the organ are hedged around with percussion impacts and a flitter of woodwind note-cells. Postlude (X) is similarly challenging. Rosa das Rosas with its strangled tinkling bell ostinato provides a stimulating bed over which the voices of Bowman and Smith writhe in an ecstatic angelic progress. Those crusader dances are evoked by the drumming background for Maravillosos et Piadosos. The final Haceme vivir penada takes us back to the serene reverential world of Tallis without even a lick of 1970s modernism.

Music of Iberia had already been used by Tavener in his Ultimos Ritos dating from shortly before the Canciones. Intending a more direct use of the material he scored the Canciones for two high voices, two flutes (doubling piccolo), alto flute, amplified harpsichord, chamber organ, hand bells, side drum and four small gongs. This makes for fascinating and very attractive listening, not at all the holy minimalism for which he has later become known. This sequence has something  in common with Berio's then contemporary sets of folksongs.

The Requiem for Father Malachy is a much more substantial work incorporating the most commonly encountered mass particles but adding a Hosanna. If Berio used the Swingles in his Sinfonia then Tavener was happy to use The King's Singers in this Requiem as well as a much-expanded Nash Ensemble. The work is one of a number of Tavener requiems – four in all. The others are Celtic Requiem (1969), Akhmatova Requiem (1980) and just issued on EMI Classics his 2008 Requiem. The Father Malachy Requiem is dedicated to the free-thinking Father Malachy Lynch (1899-1972) of the Carmelite Priory at Allington Castle in Kent. Tavener is more unforgivingly avant-garde in this work. Japanese temple music mixes with dark choral waves, organ flights and protesting brass. A touch of the medieval - and even of Orff - can be heard in Dies Irae but it is extruded through the withering avant-garde blitz of the 1970s. Seraphic voices of the middle ages can be heard in Offertorium. The bright dazzling light of his later scores is there with a modicum of Messiaen (with whom he studied) in the Sanctus. The griping and braying brass and a wailing sense of peril make for a strange Hosanna movement. That Orffian stomp, rhythmic vitality and helter-skelter onrush returns for the Libera me which melts into a chiming and honeyed address from the choir amid a delicate dripping filigree.

The soundly researched and detailed notes are by Paul Conway - a meritorious regular for Lyrita and the rising Lewis Foreman of his time. The vocal and instrumental contribution seems perfect – certainly clear and confident. Simon Gibson has wrought the usual wonders with analogue originals dating back three and a half decades. They sound stunning.

It is good through this vital and emotionally inventive music to be reminded of Tavener’s roots and thriving originality. The music still draws you in.
Rob Barnett


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




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

Past 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.