Talbot: Path of Miracles

Reviewed on Fri 19 Jun, 2015

Former member of The Divine Comedy and musical collaborator with The League of Gentlemen among others, Joby Talbot is a prolific composer in many genres. His 2004 a cappella Path of Miracles, which takes a musical journey along the Spanish pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, is divided into four sections representing the four principal stops along the way. This is a large-scale work-out for voices, whose sacred theme and free-flowing structure might call to mind John Tavener or Arvo Pärt, though Talbot’s eclectic sound-world – Ligeti-like in its more dissonant passages, hymn-like or even lyrically folksong-like in others – is uniquely his own. The work was originally written for and first recorded by Nigel Short and Tenebrae, and is here re-recorded by Craig Hella Johnson and American group Conspirare, who turn out to be as assured guides on this modern mystical journey as their British predecessors. The SACD recording is vividly detailed.
–Mark Walker