Antony Pitts

From Lockdown to Live

The Song Company premieres a Gavin Bryars classic in its 50th anniversary year

If you haven’t heard Gavin Bryars’ minimalist classic, Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, you’re in for a shock. For a start, the piece begins in silence, and then all you hear fading in for a minute or two is a very dusty-sounding recording of an old man singing in a natural, untrained voice. And after he’s sung what sounds like part of a half-remembered hymn for a little under half a minute, he starts again – or rather the recording itself is looped. Looping means in this case a literal...