Tavener Cello Concerto :::: Schirmer News Winter 2009

Tavener Cello Concerto :::: Schirmer News Winter 2009
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Popule Meus is a new cello concerto by John Tavener scored for cello, string orchestra and timpani. Popule Meus was commissioned through the Magnum Opus project: Kathryn Gould, founding patron and commissioner, and Meet the Composer, project manager.

John TavenerThe work will be premiered on February 6, 2010, with cellist Yuri Hooker and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Micklethwate.

Popule Meus is a meditation on the Judaic and Christian text “O my People, what have I done to you?”, but it is also a Universalist contemplation of the wholesale rejection of God by modern man. However much man rejects God, he cannot escape Him, and indeed he is condemned to the supernatural by his deiform nature. In Hindu terms he is the Absolute – Ayam Atma Brahma (The Self is the Absolute).

In this work the solo cello is the all-compassionate one, while the timpani represent man in his vain and pointless rejection. Although the solo cello and strings, and the timpani, share the same material (four ideas are gradually revealed, and they revolve four times during the piece), the timpani music is violent and becomes increasingly frenzied and contracted, while the cello and strings remain still and serene.

So even in winning, the Darkness loses, and even in losing the Light wins. Passion, Resurrection and Redemption; or in Hindu terms Atma (The Absolute) alone is real, Maya (The Relative) is merely illusion.