Setting the words of 17th-century poet and theologian Thomas Traherne, Gavin Bryars’ exceptionally beautiful The Fifth Century is scored for choir and saxophone quartet. It’s infused with a calm spirituality as textures and melodies slowly unfurl and choir and saxophones blend into a beautiful, homogenous ensemble. Traherne’s words intimately explore his relationship with God and the wonders of creation, and they take on a timelessness in Bryars' hands—the glorious fourth movement, “Eternity Is a Mysterious Absence of Times and Ages,” seems to tame time itself as it soars, suspended in midair. The singing, playing, and recorded quality are mesmerising.
The Fifth Century
The Fifth Century: I. We See the Heavens with Our Eyes