• John Tavener
  • The Last Sleep of the Virgin (1991)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Cheltenham Festival

  • 2vn.va.vchandbells
  • 20 min

Programme Note

The Last Sleep of the Virgin was written in 2002 just before I underwent major heart surgery. The eschatalogical character of the music is heightened by the fact that I could barely hear the music. It seemed, so to speak, almost beyond my grasp. To reflect this, the performers are directed to play 'at the threshold of audibility'.

The music is Byzantine in character, being based on the 8 Doxasticon of the Feast of the Dormition. The music, without wordsm enacts the story of the Falling Asleep and burial by the Apostles of The Mother of God.

The Last Sleep of the Virgin has an important part for handbells, bearing much of the basis of the material of this strange - strange to me - meditation on The Last Things.

The Last Sleep of the Virgin was written in homage to Dame Margot Fonteyn, who died in 1991, and is dedicated to the Chilingirian String Quartet.


John Tavener

Listen

The Last Sleep Of The Virgin
The Protecting Veil/The Protecting Veil
The Nativity Of The Mother/The Protecting Veil
The Annunciation/The Protecting Veil
The Incarnation/The Protecting Veil
The Lament Of The Mother/The Protecting Veil
The Resurrection/The Protecting Veil
The Dormition/The Protecting Veil
The Protecting Veil/The Protecting Veil

Discography