Commissioned by The Foundation for the Cuenca Religious Music Week

  • str(vns and vcs only)
  • soprano, clarinet
  • 7 min

Programme Note

Cantus Mysticus sets a text by Goethe concerned with the Eternal Feminine: Das ewig Weibliche zieht uns hinan (The Eternal Woman draws us upwards). Many of my recent works have been concerned with meditation on the Creative Feminine which, according to esoteric metaphysics, reveals the ‘child of the soul’, and thus God.

The slow, contemplative and very intense opening of Cantus Mysticus leads gradually towards a ‘still centre’, with much use of ‘silence’. This is followed by an ecstatic celebration of the Divine Feminine - the Virgine Madre of Dante and Christianity, the Maha Maya of Hinduism, and Maha Prajavati of Buddhism. The Jazz-style passages for clarinet express Lîla, or Divine Play.

Cantus Mysticus is scored for B flat clarinet, soprano and strings (violins and cellos only).

John Tavener