Tarney: Magnificat (CR030)
Review by The Quarterly Review
Listen and buy on Convivium Records
Available from Convivium Records and recorded at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Clapham, South London, Tarney’s choral-orchestral work is a highly-accessible (twelve-part) confluence of several spiritual traditions – the composer keen to find common ground between “the three Abrahamic religions” and, as he writes in the sleeve notes, “a proclamation of ecstatic joy… a symbol of faith in the face of uncertainty and of strength in the face of adversity”. Bringing this music to the recording studio is an inspirational conductor, and teacher of community choirs, Manvinder Rattan, and the Serafine Chamber Choir and Sinfonia (a new ensemble for this reviewer). The Magnificat has percussive, modern gestures – a reminder, perhaps, of the style of Karl Jenkins (well known for rhythmic choral works, such as The Armed Man) – but also moments that bring to mind the style of Benjamin Britten and the pure “holy water” of veteran Estonian composer, the deeply-religious Arvo Pärt. There is much for the choir and soloists to do in the manner of a large-scale oratorio, but I feel that it is in the private, reflective, mysterious moments of the score – the parts when the music feels like a whisper or a confiding of an idea – that Oliver Tarney reaches a true depth of feeling.
Stuart Millson, The Quarterly Review, 13th February 2016
The Quarterly Review was founded in 1809, as a counterbalance to the Whig Edinburgh Review.The founders included George Canning (later a Conservative Prime Minister), Robert Southey (later Poet Laureate) and Sir Walter Scott, and it was published by the eminent London publisher John Murray. It became one of the 19th century’s most influential journals.
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