• John Tavener
  • The Veil of the Temple (All night vigil) (2002)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Temple Music Trust

* strings to be used when the final section is played as a separate work

  • duduk/3hn.2tpt.tbn+btbn/Tibetan horn/timp.3 temple bowls (high,medium,low).tam.tbells/org.indian harmonium
  • SATB / boys’ choir
  • soprano
  • 8 hr
  • Aramaic, Church Slavonic, English, Greek, Sanskrit

Programme Note

The Veil of the Temple should ideally be played and sung in its original form. However I have devised a shortened version, which may be more readily performable, and I have given some idea of the gradual build-up of the all-night vigil.

Although The Veil of the Temple is mainly Christian, it attempts to remove the veils that hide the same basic truth of all authentic religions. It begins for instance in the words of the Sufis, and ends in the Hindu world, with the Upanishad Hymn. The ‘Logos’, that mysterious substance inside the Godhead, reveals itself in many forms, whether it be Christ, Krishna, or ‘the word made book’ in the form of the Koran.

The timeless victory of Good over Evil, or of Ohrmazd and Ahriman is a victory that is ontologically necessary because it results from the nature of Being itself. Darkness, even in winning, loses; and light, even in losing, wins. Such are the aspirations and metaphysics of The Veil of the Temple.




Cycles 1-3
Cycle 4
Cycle 5
Cycle 6
Cycles 7-8