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Gavin Bryars

Gavin Bryars

Richard Gavin Bryars is an English composer and double bassist. He has been active in (or has produced works in) many varied styles of music, including jazz, free improvisation, minimalism experimental music, avant-garde, neoclassicism, and ambient.

Born in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, Bryars initially studied philosophy at Sheffield University before studying music for three years.

The first musical work for which is he remembered was his role as bassist in the trio Joseph Holbrooke, alongside guitarist Derek Bailey and drummer Tony Oxley. The trio began by playing relatively traditional jazz before moving into free improvisation. However, Bryars became dissatified with this when he saw a young bassist (later revealed to be Johnny Dyani) play in a manner which seemed to him to be artificial, and he became interested in composition instead.

Bryars's first works as a composer owe much to the so-called New York School of John Cage (with whom he briefly studied), Morton Feldman, Earle Brown and minimalism. His first known work as a composer, The Sinking of the Titanic (1969), is quite an indeterministic work which allows the performers to take a number of sound sources related to the sinking of the RMS Titanic and make them into a piece of music. The 1994 recording of this piece was made famous to a whole new audience via its promo single featuring the Aphex Twin remix "Raising the Titanic" (later collected on his 26 Mixes for Cash album).

Another well known early work is Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (1971), which has at its basis a recorded loop of a tramp improvising a hymn of that name. On top of that loop, rich harmonies played by a live ensemble are built, always increasing in density, before the whole thing gradually fades out. A new recording of this work was made in the 1990s with Tom Waits singing along with the original recording of the tramp during the final section.

Bryars was also a founding member of the Portsmouth Sinfonia, an orchestra whose membership consisted of performers who "embrace the full range of musical competence" - and who played (or attempted to play) popular classical works. Its members included Brian Eno, whose Obscure Records label would subsequently release works by Bryars. In one of the first three releases from the label, Brian Eno's album Discrete Music, Bryars conducted and co-arranged the three pieces "Three Variations on the Canon in D Major by Johann Pachelbel" which constitute the second half of the album.

Bryars's later works have included A Man In A Room, Gambling (1997), which was written on a commission from BBC Radio 3 and Artangel. Bryars's music is heard beneath monologues spoken by the Spanish artist Juan Munoz, who talks about methods of cheating at card games. The ten short works were played on Radio 3 without any introductory announcements, and Bryars is quoted as saying that he hoped they would appear to the listener in a similar way to the shipping forecast, both mysterious and accepted without question.

Bryars has written a large number of other works, including three operas, and a number of instrumental pieces, among them three string quartets and several concertos. He has written several pieces for choreographers, including Biped (2001) for Merce Cunningham.

Bryars founded the music department at Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University), and taught there for a number of years. He lives in England, and, in the summer months, on the west coast of Canada

Featured Items (See Related Items.)

Displaying 1-4 of 4 items.


Gavin Bryars : First Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male Voices : TTBB : 01 Songbook : Gavin Bryars : 073999236279 : 49003319

Gavin Bryars : First Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male Voices

Review: These Madrigals were written especially for the Hilliard Ensemble with who Gavin Bryars has worked for many years. The texts are by the poet and writer Blake Morrison.

Songlist: Web, Stormy, Almond Tree, Just As The Ash-Glow`, Within Minutes, Our Bodies In The Shower, She'd Buy Things, All The Homely Arts And Crafts, In April, Who's The More To Blame, The Print Of Soles, My Pomegranate, Against Dieting

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9194b | Songbook $19.95 | TTBB add item to cart Madrigal Arrangements


Gavin Bryars : Glorious Hill : SATB : 01 Songbook : Gavin Bryars : 884088869953 : 49030538

Gavin Bryars : Glorious Hill

Review: Glorious Hill was commissioned by the Hilliard Ensemble and first performed by them at its summer Festival of Voices in England. The title, Glorious Hill comes from the name of the small-town Mississippi setting of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke.

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7554b | Songbook $5.50 | SATB add item to cart


Estonian National Male Choir : Silva Caledonia - Gavin Bryars /  Toivo Tulev : 00  1 CD : Kaspars Putnins : Gavin Bryars : 640999911620 : 11

Estonian National Male Choir : Silva Caledonia - Gavin Bryars / Toivo Tulev

Review: Following his highly successful recordings with the Latvian Radio Choir, Gavin Bryars moves on to a recording with the Estonian National Male Choir, the largest professional men's choir in the world. "... The music of Gavin Bryars falls under no category. It is mongrel, full of sensuality and wit and is deeply moving. He is one of the few composers who can put slapstick and primal emotion alongside each other. He allows you to witness new wonders in the sounds around you by approaching them from a completely new angle. With a third ear maybe. . ." Michael Ondaatje

Songlist: Double Bass Concerto- Farewell to St. Petersburg, Memento, Silva Caledonia, O Oriens, The Summons , Ian in the Broch

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2332c | 1 CD $16.95 add item to cart Men's Choirs CDs


Latvian Radio Choir : Glorious Hill : 00  1 CD : Ieva Ezeriete / Kaspars Putnins / Sigvards Klava : Gavin Bryars : 09

Latvian Radio Choir : Glorious Hill

Review: In recent years Gavin Bryars has concentrated to a great extent on writing for the human voice - and a great deal of this is choral music. He has a close relationship with ensembles from the Baltic, especially the Latvian Radio Choir, now without doubt one of the world's greatest choirs. His first collaboration with them on GB Records was the superb On 'Photography', which was an Editor's Choice in Gramophone and extensively played on BBC Radio 3. This very fine choir is at home in all forms of contemporary music, but also in music from the baroque as well as early music. Many of Gavin Bryars' works on this recording take forms from early music, and some pieces originate in collaborations with early music ensembles - such as the Hilliard Ensemble and Trio Mediaeval. Here we have the stunning female voices of the Latvian Radio Choir in 9 and 11 part laude; the whole choir a capella in Glorious Hill and, in Cadman Requiem, accompanied by Riga Cathedral's magnificent organ in the cathedral's stunning acoustic. As on the first recording with the Latvian Radio Choir, Gavin Bryars has included works by Latvian composers close to his heart. Eriks Esenvalds is a young composer whose work recorded here was awarded first place at the 2006 International Rostrum for Composers. Peteris Vasks is perhaps the best known of all living Latvian composers. The work of both composers has a profound concern for the spiritual, which has led it to be linked with the music of composers such as Arvo Part or Giya Kancheli.

Songlist: Lauda 22, Fammi cantar l'amor, Lauda 23, Glorious Hill, Legende de la femme emmuree, Dammi conforto Dio, Lauda 24, Ziles zina, Cadman Requiem, -Kyrie/Requiem, -Creation Hymn Paraphrase (Bede), -Agnus Dei, -Creation Hymn, -In Paradisum

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8751c | 1 CD $15.95 add item to cart Latvian Choral Music

Related Items ( See Featured Items )

Displaying 1-29 of 29 items.

Song NameArrangerComposerArtistItem TitleFormatTrax
-Agnus DeiGavin BryarsLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
-Creation HymnGavin BryarsLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
-Creation Hymn Paraphrase (Bede)Gavin BryarsLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
-In ParadisumGavin BryarsLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
-Kyrie/RequiemGavin BryarsLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Against DietingGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
All The Homely Arts And CraftsGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Almond TreeGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Cadman RequiemGavin BryarsLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Double Bass Concerto- Farewell to St. Petersburgtext by- Kul'onikGavin BryarsEstonian National Male ChoirSilva Caledonia - Gavin Bryars / Toivo Tulev 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Glorious HillGavin BryarsLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Ian in the Brochtext by- George BruceGavin BryarsEstonian National Male ChoirSilva Caledonia - Gavin Bryars / Toivo Tulev 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
In AprilGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Just As The Ash-Glow`Gavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Lauda 22Gavin BryarsLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Lauda 23Gavin BryarsLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Lauda 24Gavin BryarsLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Mementotext by- Edwin MorganGavin BryarsEstonian National Male ChoirSilva Caledonia - Gavin Bryars / Toivo Tulev 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
My PomegranateGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Our Bodies In The ShowerGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
She'd Buy ThingsGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Silva Caledoniatext by- Edwin MorganGavin BryarsEstonian National Male ChoirSilva Caledonia - Gavin Bryars / Toivo Tulev 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
StormyGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Super fluminaGavin BryarsEstonian Philharmonic Chamber ChoirScattered RhymesSACDMORE DETAILS 
The Print Of SolesGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
The Summons text by- Edwin MorganGavin BryarsEstonian National Male ChoirSilva Caledonia - Gavin Bryars / Toivo Tulev 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
WebGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Who's The More To BlameGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Within MinutesGavin BryarsGavin BryarsFirst Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS 


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