December 31, 2014 – 3:11 pm

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Officium Novum
Switzerland 2014 [no label, 1CD]

Live at the Chiesa Della Collegiata, Bellinzona, Switzerland; October 16, 2014. Excellent satellite radio broadcast.

As the year draws to a close, this is in memory of those who perished in 2014, among those the victims of Air Asia QZ8501; MH370 and MH17.

John Kelman, allaboutjazz.com:

With the unexpected massive success of Officium (ECM, 1994), Jan Garbarek’s first collaboration with The Hilliard Ensemble, it would be all too easy for the Norwegian saxophonist and British vocal ensemble to rest on their not inconsiderable laurels, and simply repeat the formula. But while Officium featured a repertoire of structured early music - from Gregorian chant to early polyphony, over which Garbarek soared improvisationally - the double-disc follow-up, Menemosyne (ECM, 1999), expanded the quintet’s purview by introducing music of a more contemporary nature, including fragments of minimal notation that encouraged The Hilliard Ensemble to extemporize alongside the saxophonist. A decade later, Officium Novum continues to broaden this remarkable pairing’s already expansive perspective, by bringing in music of a distinctly eastern flavor, with considerable focus on music composed or adapted by Armenian composer Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935)…

As ever, Garbarek’s attention to the purity and precision of each and every note is matched by countertenor David James, tenors Rogers Covey-Crump and Steven Harrold, and baritone Gordon Jones. By using both tenor and soprano saxophones throughout the program, Garbarek augments the vocal group at both ends of the spectrum, moving underneath and soaring above, often within the same phrase. That reeds and voices merge together so effortlessly- engendering a curiously paradoxical combination of peace and passion - is this ensemble’s particular strength; even brief moments of dissonance, as in the Hillards’ approach to Garbarek’s other original composition, “Allting finns,” only serve to create a momentary sense of tension that softly resolves back to translucent beauty…

Officium Novum’s repertoire is the quintet’s most intriguing yet, finding a nexus point where Garbarek and Vardapet can coexist with Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, whose “Most Holy Mother of God” represents the album’s spiritual high point… If music is meant to be a transporting experience, then Officium Novum is Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble at its transcendent best.

David Vernier, posted at amazon.co.uk:

“What is this music?” Fundamentally, it’s an exploration of what happens when an improvisatory instrumental voice (saxophone) is placed into the world of early vocal music, which has elements of both improvisation and formal structure. In reality, it’s an adventure in which the four male voices of the Hilliard Ensemble travel the 14th and 15th-century territory of Morales and Dufay, visit the 12th-century Pérotin and roam even earlier ages of plainchant, accompanied by the always sensitive and tasteful, often astonishing, saxophone improvisations of jazz master Jan Garbarek. Sometimes, these new melodies simply accompany; sometimes they transform the common - a routine minor chord, for instance - into a sublime, indescribable moment. The answer to the above question is easy, but it’s different for each listener.

+ + + + +

Thanks to unclewolfi for sharing the tracks at Dime.

dvb-s > techno trend tt-premium s2-6400 twin hd > hdd > nero wave editor > flac
(mpeg1 layer 2/256 kbps) [radio station - rete due]

These tracks are no longer available for download.

Track 01. Ov Zarmanali 5:57
Track 02. Svjete Tihij 3:21
Track 03. Allting Finns 3:59
Track 04. Litany/Otche Nash/Dostoini Est 12:17
Track 05. Sanctus 4:59
Track 06. Most Holy Mother Of God 8:09
Track 07. Procedentem Sponsum 3:08
Track 08. Gaston Rouge 6:17
Track 09. Anonymos 5:03
Track 10. O Ignis Spiritus 7:26
Track 11. We Are The Stars 4:23
Track 12. Agnus Dei 7:38
73 mins

Jan Garbarek - sax
David James - contratenor
Rogers Covey-Crump - tenor
Steven Harrold - tenor
Gordon Jones - baritone

Click here to order Officium Novum.

+ + + + +
+ + + + +

UPDATED: January 14, 2015

We are a lawfirm acting on behalt of Deutsche Grammophon GmbH… Our client is the owner of the exclusive rights to the Audio recordings “Officium” by artists “Jan Garbarek & The Hilliard Ensemble”, live at the Chiesa Della Collegiata, Bellinzona, Switzerland from October 14th, 2014 for the territory of Germany (§§ 16, 19a Urheberrechtsgesetz).

It has come to our attention that the songs from this recordings are illegally being communicated to the public.

On behalf of our client, you are asked to stop the infringements immediately.

Mirko Brüß

+ + + + +

Click here for more shows that are still open for sharing.

Click here for closed shows.
(Readers can email us a request to reopen closed shows.)


  2. Thanks, BigO! What a great New Year gift. I own the three albums mentioned above: Officium, Menemosyne, and Officium Novum. I recommend them to anyone who likes this concert.

    Condolences to those who lost family and friends aboard Air Asia QZ8501; MH370 and MH17.

    By aking on Dec 31, 2014

  3. Thank you very much for all the wonderful posts BigO.
    Have a great new year!

    By arusha on Dec 31, 2014

  4. Thanks again for another amazing post! I recently discovered Gomidas and his music after seeing (and researching) a statue of him here in Detroit, courtesy of our large Armenian population, and I’m really loving it. Wasn’t aware of the studio recording, but I’ll be looking for that next. Shnorhagal em!

    By Motorvilleboy on Jan 5, 2015

Post a Comment