• John Tavener
  • Meditation on the Light (1986)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • gtr/handbells
  • countertenor
  • 20 min

Programme Note

This work, composed in 1987, adopts and develops those musical ideas contained in the earlier 'Chant' (1984) for solo guitar, commissioned by and dedicated to Simon James. Both pieces are built upon the tone systems laid down in the ninth century by the Byzantine Church, and the vocal line of the later 'Meditation' is characterised by the microtonal 'break' which was a typical feature of Byzantine chant. The composer recommends that any singers intending to perform this work should first make a study of both sacred and secular Byzantine music in order to appreciate fully its style and beauty: "the sounds of the Lyra and Byzantine Psaltis were very much in my mind when I composed this meditation", reads the preface to the score. He feels that the composition of this work was very much influenced by the atmosphere of Greece, which he considers to be his second home: "a typically Greek landscape with its ancient statues and buildings exuding a stillness that is centuries old and, somewhere in the distance, the sound of a Byzantine chant..."