Gavin Bryars visited in Australia last month (Adelaide Festival) which reminded me of his famous tape and orchestra piece Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet. The piece is built around a crackly recording of a London tramp singing an old hymn. Bryars looped the recording so it kept repeating and added a slowly building orchestral accompaniment. The simplicity of the piece is striking and it invariably has an impact on listeners. I remember the meditative stillness at St George’s Cathedral when Bryars conducted the work here for the Perth Festival many years ago. Jesus Blood has also been recorded with singer Tom Waits weaving his voice with the voice of the tramp.
To my knowledge a piece of art music has never been written to feature the Easter Bunny. (Although Ros Bandt has written a piece using wind up toy rabbits). Today I’m going to reclaim the soul of Easter with this ancient hymn, sung by an unknown tramp and reworked by English composer Gavin Bryars.