The Veil of the Temple on TV

The Veil of the Temple on TV
Boomtown Media has turned John Tavener’s The Veil of the Temple into an extraordinary music film.

Watch a preview below


The Berlin film production company Boomtown Media reached an audience of millions around the globe with its documentary feature films Rhythm is it! and Trip to Asia. For its latest music film, The Veil of the Temple – A Journey to the End of the Night Silvia Beck and her camera crew accompanied Rundfunkchor Berlin and its audience in May 2007 through the all-night performance of Sir John Tavener’s unique musical ritual The Veil of the Temple at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The result is an enthralling double portrait of the work and the city of Berlin.

This novel music film will be premiered on Sunday 13 December 2009 at 11.45 pm on RBB and subsequently shown on further ARD channels. But prior to that, at 10 o’clock on the same evening (doors open from 9 pm), Rundfunkchor Berlin will present a special public preview at Berlin’s Radialsystem V. The film will be projected on large screen in the rooms of the converted pumping station. Sitting on cushions or lying on mats, the audience will be able to realize the overwhelming shared experience of the original performance (below).

John Tavener’s The Veil of the Temple brings together European and Asian instruments in a work whose five-language libretto is derived from the texts of all the world’s religions. It is a journey from darkness into light, from deep sorrow over Christ’s death to cognizance of his Resurrection. Tavener’s exploration of the mystical traditions of different religions led him to recognize that the divine essence is concealed within human beings themselves. Thus The Veil of the Temple is also a journey into the “self”. At the Berlin performance, 200 singers from five different choirs merged with 700 spectators. The project was part of the Rundfunkchor’s experimental series “Broadening the Scope of Choral Music”.

Silvia Beck’s film condenses Tavener’s extraordinary seven-hour work into 45 minutes and augments it with powerful images and parallel worlds drawn from nocturnal Berlin. The film maps out Tavener’s gigantic meditative cycle and its references to reality while transforming the reality of a Berlin night into a profound musical meditation.

The Veil of the Temple is available on hire for performance from Chester Music, part of the Music Sales Group.

Purchase sheet music by John Tavener from or from your local music retailer

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