Commissioned by Dartington Summer School of Music
This work was commissioned by the Dartington Summer School of Music in 1970 and later incorporated into 'Ultimos Ritos' (1974), arguably the culmination of Tavener's concert music before his reception into the Orthodox Church and subsequent re-orientation of style. It is based on a single name - Jesus - as pronounced in European, Asiatic and African languages. In the first section, a selection of biblical readings surveys the life of Christ: prophecy of birth (English); meeting with John the Baptist (Latin); his teaching (French); his healing (German); the Last Supper (Spanish); crucifixion (German); resurrection (French); promise of the Holy Spirit (Latin); exaltation by the Father (English). Following a moment of 'ecstatic adoration', the solo soprano sings verses from 'Song of the Soul in rapture at having arrived at the height of Perfection which is union with God, by the road of spiritual negation' by the Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross, under which the chord and the name evaporate.