Requiem in Liverpool
11th February 2008
Requiem by John Tavener was commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company for Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008. It will be performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir. ‘Cellist Josephine Knight, tenor Andrew Kennedy and soprano Elin Manahan Thomas play important solo roles. The concert takes place at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral on February 28.
John Tavener has long drawn inspiration from orthodox and other sacred sources; he recently produced his own epic all-night vigil, The Veil of the Temple , which embraces many of the great religious traditions. Now, at a time of seemingly global strife, his new Requiem is an attempt to reconcile the world's warring religions through music and through contemplation of the final journey that we all share.
Within the circular nave of the city's Metropolitan Cathedral, four groups of performers, set out in the shape of a cross, will represent the four great faiths of Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam, while a solo cello in their midst will symbolise the 'Primordial Light' from which we take our starting-point and to which we all return at the end.
In Tavener's words: 'I envisage the final movement as a huge affirmation of the ONENESS of God, as all four groups pulsate round a vast building singing I AM in Hebrew, Sanskrit, Arabic and Greek'.