• John Tavener
  • He Hath Entered the Heven (1982)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford

  • [handbells]
  • 9 trebles
  • 8 min

Programme Note

He Hath Entered the Heven was composed in 1982 to a commission by Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. It is scored for two choirs of female (or boys') voices, designated 'Group 1' and 'Group 11', with a 'halo' of handbells.

The text for the work is taken from the last recorded words of Lady Margaret Beaufort, the fifteenth century benefactress and owner of estates, and mother of Henry V11. She was foundress of many of the most prestigious academic institutions in England, among them Lady Margaret Hall itself. In He Hath Entered the Heven her final words ('O Blessyd Jhesu, helpe me! O Blessyd Lady, socoure me!') are used in conjunction with lines taken from St. John Fischer's sermon preached in her memory, the refrain of which ('Eleison me') underpins the musical material of Group 11, allowing Group 1 to intone the words of Margaret herself.