RAISING THE TITANIC

THE GREAT SHIP WENT DOWN MORE THAN 80 YEARS AGO, BUT FOR BRITISH COMPOSER GAVIN BRYARS, ITS MUSIC HAS NEVER STOPPED

IT BEGINS WITH A ship's bell clanging peacefully in the night. Suddenly there is the shuddering impact of steel meeting solid, razor-sharp ice. Then the music emerges as if from a watery grave, half heard and half perceived, a stately, contemplative hymn solemnly intoned by a string sextet. A brass choir picks up fragments of the tune, while a boys' chorus adds a heavenly descant of Kyrie Eleison. From time to time, scraps of sound emerge from the wreckage-buckling bulkheads, rushing water, disembodied voices of the survivors, alarm horns honking futilely across the cold North Atlantic-but as the great ship settles...

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