Remember Me, My Dear (Live in Bellinzona / 2014) Jan Garbarek & The Hilliard Ensemble
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- Komitas (1869 - 1953):
- 1Ov zarmanali (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)06:00
- 2Procurans odium (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)03:23
- Jan Garbarek (b. 1947):
- 3Allting finns (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)04:00
- Nikolay Kedrov Sr. (1871 - 1940):
- 4Litany (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)09:00
- 5Dostoino est (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)03:16
- 6Sanctus (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)07:50
- Arvo Pärt (b. 1935):
- 7Most Holy Mother of God (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)04:11
- 8Procedentem sponsum (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)04:17
- Guillaume Le Rouge (1385 - 1465):
- 9Se je fayz deuil (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)06:17
- Pérotin (1160 - 1230):
- 10Alleluia nativitas (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)05:09
- Hildegard von Bingen (1098 - 1179):
- 11O ignis spiritus (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)07:29
- Jan Garbarek:
- 12We Are the Stars (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)05:19
- Antoine Brumel (1460 - 1512):
- 13Agnus Dei (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)06:10
- 14Remember Me, My Dear (Arr. Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble) (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)05:13
Info for Remember Me, My Dear (Live in Bellinzona / 2014)
25 years on from the release of Officium, the groundbreaking alliance of Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, comes Remember me, my dear, recorded during the final tour the group made in October 2014. The program is emblematic of the range of repertoire the Norwegian saxophonist and British vocal quartet explored together– from Pérotin, Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume le Rouge, Antoine Brumel to Komitas , Arvo Pärt and more. It could be said that the Hilliard/Garbarek combination, in concert, transcended its source materials, with early music, contemporary composition and improvisation interfused in the responsive acoustics of sacred spaces. And this final album reminds us that the unique Garbarek/Hilliard combination, and its unprecedented exploration of sound, was consistently breathtaking.
Garbarek blends with the vocal lines – sung captivatingly by the Hilliards – like a fifth voice. With restraint and the greatest of control he wanders and floats through the spaces created by the singers…The early music is not just given a modern sheen. Garbarek explores a space from the inside, but with a sound whose hymnic character and pathos cannot be denied. The music raises the question of what is old and what is new. Peter Rüedi, Die Weltwoche
Named for the Scottish ballad which concludes it, Remember Me, My Dear is a live album from the unforgettable final tour of Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble, recorded in October 2014 at Chiesa della Collegiata dei Santi Pietro e Stefano in Bellinzona, in the Ticino canton of Switzerland. The album embodies all the special attributes of this unique alliance between the Norwegian saxophonist and the British vocal ensemble.
They were first brought together by producer Manfred Eicher in 1993. With Officium, the debut album made the following year, “something came into existence that was not there before”, in the words of Jan Garbarek, and the music touched a large international audience. A million copies of Officium were sold swiftly, and a thousand concerts - many in churches, abbeys and other sacred spaces - followed over a 20-year period. And there were further recordings, the double album Mnemosyne (1998) and Officium Novum (2009). The repertoire of Remember Me is drawn from all three albums and adds a new piece, “Procurans odium”, a medieval song preserved at the Bavarian monastery of Benediktbeuern. All of the music is transformed by the live context, by the subtlety of the singers, and the improvisational daring of Jan Garbarek. “He can pick up on anything, and his ears are phenomenal,” David James has said. “The slightest nuance, he’ll play into it and feed something back – it’s just so thrilling to perform with him.” Jan Garbarek, near the beginning of the association: “I’ve loved medieval music for years. The old music is very familiar to me, for it uses modes which you find in folk music and jazz. I find it completely natural to join in with it, and it has since broadened my whole perspective of playing.”
The range of music addressed expanded as the Officium project developed. Remember Me, My Dear begins with an Armenian traditional piece in Komitas’s arrangement. There is also contemporary music, including Arvo Pärt’s “Most Holy Mother of God”, and two Garbarek compositions: “We are the stars”, based upon Native American poetry, and “Allting finns”, a particularly beautiful setting of a poem by Swedish author Pär Lagerkvist. On the present recording it segues into the Litany of Russian composer Nikolai Kedrov, whose music spanned the 19th and 20th centuries, integrated here alongside 12th century music of Hildegard von Bingen, 13th century music of Pérotin, and more. In the playing of Garbarek and the singing of the Hilliards, time is dissolved in the resonant performance space.
“Hard, smooth stone surfaces and an abundance of air were the properties we sought,” wrote Jan Garbarek in a programme note. When these were available, “the concerts were bliss. Flowing so easily, the sonority of the voices hovering harmoniously under every arch and vault, filling every corner of splendent space. Sax roaming freely above, below inside the vocal texture, a soaring sum of parts…” The Bellinzona concert, two months from the final show, bears out this description.
The retirement of the Hilliard Ensemble, after a forty-year career, also brought the Officium collaboration to an end. The last Officium performance was at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, in December 2014. The outstanding recordings remain, the Officium-Mnemosyne-Officium Novum cycle now augmented by Remember Me, My Dear.
The Hilliards can also be heard on a further 40 ECM titles, singing everything from Tallis and Gesualdo to Arvo Pärt and Gavin Bryars. Jan Garbarek is of course one of ECM’s primary artists, first recording for the label in 1970 with Afric Pepperbird and subsequently appearing on dozens of albums as leader, co-leader, and featured soloist with composers including Eleni Karaindrou and Giya Kancheli.
Album booklet, in English and German, includes a performer’s note by Gordon Jones, and liner notes by Paul Griffiths and Steve Lake.
Jan Garbarek, soprano saxophone
David James, counter-tenor
Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor
Steven Harrold, tenor
Gordon Jones, baritone
As an improvising musician, Jan Garbarek has said that he seeks to make his playing “fit the tone, texture and temperament of the music. It’s about finding a common language.” The quest to explore that language has ranged widely across time and space, from the folk songs of his native Norway to improvisations around medieval polyphony and the music of the Indian subcontinent and Middle East, as well as jazz. In the course of these musical journeys, the intensely focused sounds of his tenor and soprano saxophones have become among the most instantly recognizable and haunting in contemporary music.
Garbarek was born in Mysen, Norway in 1947. His family later moved to Oslo and, at the age of 14, Garbarek first heard John Coltrane on the radio, which inspired him to take up the saxophone. Dexter Gordon, then a frequent visitor to Norway, also made a deep impression.
In 1962 Garbarek won a competition for amateur jazz players and for the rest of the decade worked regularly in Norway, usually as a leader, but he also spent four years with jazz composer and theorist George Russell, who would later describe him as “the most original voice in European jazz since Django Reinhardt”. In 1969, ECM founder Manfred Eicher asked Garbarek to join the roster of his new record label. Garbarek’s first ECM album was Afric Pepperbird. “After we recorded it we knew we had something special,” Eicher remembered. It was to be the first step in one of ECM’s most distinguished recording careers.
Jan Garbarek rose to international fame in the mid-1970s playing with Keith Jarrett's European Quartet, which released the albums Belonging, My Song and the live recordings Personal Mountains, Nude Ants, and Sleeper. Such collaborations, in the words of Jarrett’s biographer, Ian Carr, took “the art of classic jazz to its highest pinnacle”.
Triptykon (1972) was the first recording on which Garbarek used a Norwegian folk song in his playing, a direction in which he had been encouraged by American trumpeter Don Cherry. “Whether I like it or not,” Garbarek told one writer, “I am locked into a certain vocabulary or phraseology which is linked to Norwegian folk music.”
In 1979, Garbarek recorded Photo with Blue Sky, the first of a series of albums with the Jan Garbarek Group, a regular touring band whose line-up would evolve over the decades. It was not until 2007 that they recorded a live album, however, the double CD, Dresden. As the Guardian wrote of the group on their 2007 tour: “The contrast between an intense jamming sound and the songlike simplicity of the tunes is always Garbarek’s magic mix, but this version of the band has an exhilarating intensity.”
Officium, one of the most significant recordings of Garbarek’s career – and in the history of ECM – was made in 1993 in St Gerold monastery in Austria with the Hilliard Ensemble. Garbarek’s sax – a “fifth voice” – weaves soaring, swooping lines around the polyphony of the vocal quartet, creating effects that are as entrancing as they are unexpected. In 1999 came a sequel, Mnemosyne, which ranged further across time in its musical material, and Officum Novum explored the crossroads between east and west, with particular focus on the music of Armenia.
Garbarek’s restless musical imagination, so evident in his Hilliard collaborations and countless other projects over the years, keeps driving him forward. Of his musical journey he says: “It never really stands still. Not at any point in time can you say, ‘Now I reached something.’”