• John Tavener
  • Fear and Rejoice, O People (1997)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by St. John's College, Cambridge and Winchester Cathedral

  • 8 min

Programme Note

The words of Fear and Rejoice, O People are taken from the Psalms, the Gospels and from Orthodox sources.
The Orthodox Church does not observe Advent as does the Western Church, (there is no sentimental devotion to the child Jesus). Nut there is a Christmas Fast, a preparation before the joy and awe of the Incarnation of the Logos (Logos means literally 'The Word made flesh'). The importance of the Incarnation, in all its cosmic magnificence and with its vast implications for the created world. Is insufficiently appreciated today.
Surely, the words 'Fear and Rejoice' sum up the mixture of joy and sorrow so characteristic of the Orthodox Church. In this piece, fervent, dance-like music (which should be sung in a rough, Byzantine style) contrasts with the fear and awe of the other three sections. I hope that this short piece will make some small contribution towards a deeper understanding of the Incarnation.

John Tavener