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Penguin Guide, January 2009

John Tavener may not have won over the entire musical world with his brand of music, but he has undoubtedly won a sincere and popular following with his obvious gift for communicating directly to his audience. This disc offers a broad cross section of his work, from the early In Alium (1968) which features a pre-recorded tape of people making irritating noises (to this listener’s ears) to some of his most recent works. It features many of his obvious hits (such as an excerpt from The Protecting Veil), and embraces genres from solo piano and organ music to his opera (or ‘moving icon’ as the composer calls it), Mary of Egypt. As one would excerpt, there are many beautiful sounds on this CD and the performances are very good. What makes this disc so recommendable, however, is that it has been put together so well by the project editor, Genevieve Helsby, making this two CD set equally enjoyable as an introduction to Tavener’s music, or as a compilation for those who have already succumbed. The booklet notes are lavish and the second CD includes a 45minute interview with the composer.

Barry Witherden
Gramophone, April 2004

"A fine birthday celebration surveys Tavener old and new to good effect...Naxos must be congratulated in gaining such widespread co-operation, achieving a genuinely comprehensive survey to mark Tavener's 60th birthday. The soloists on Prayer is the Icelandic rock singer, Bjork, Tavener speaks approvingly of her 'raw, primordial sound' and the spontaneity of her untrained voice...Altogether an admirable package."

Anthony Burton
BBC Music Magazine, March 2004

"Naxos celebrates John Tavener's 60th birthday (which fell in January) with a generously produced retrospective anthology. The biographical booklet by David McCleery is a model of its kind, clearly and engagingly written, and is complemented on the discs by the composer's own spoken reflections, edited from an interview...Even Tavener's loyal admirers will find something new here; for others, it's an extremely useful introduction to a significant and utterly individual body of work."

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