• John Tavener
  • Maha Maya (2003)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Cantata Choir, Canterbury Christ Church University College. First performance at the Canterbury Festival on 14th October 2004, in the Canterbury Cathedral Quire, by the Cantata Choir of Canterbury Christ Church University College, with David Flood (organ), conducted by Grenville Hancox

  • organ
  • double choir (SATB SATB)
  • 12 min

Programme Note

Maha Maya is a celebration of the Eternal Feminine; in the Great Mother of the Hindus,in the Maha Prajavati of the Buddhists (making the Mother of the Buddha the same primal Mother), and in Mary the Mother of Christ, seen in her universal aspect as Stella Matutina, and Mother of all the Prophets. The music is for double choir and organ, and is in three sections. The first choir sings two German texts: Ich sehe dich in tausend Bildern by Novalis (Baron Friedrich von Hardenberg (1772-1801)) in the outer sections, and Stella Matutina by the Sufi philosopher Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) in the very tender central section. The second choir invokes Maha Prajavati, Maha Maya, and Stella Matutina throughout. The organ sounds on either side of the centre of the Tryptich, and represents (by using Harmonies of the Spheres, played fortissimo) the awesome and cosmic nature of the Eternal Feminine.
J.T.