• John Tavener
  • Kaleidoscopes (A tribute to Mozart) (2005)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • 2perc(very large gong; 4 Tibetan temple bowls)/4vn.4vn.4va.4vc.2db
  • oboe
  • 30 min

Programme Note

I have always regarded Mozart as the most sacred and also the most inexplicable of all composers. Sacred, because more than any other composer that I know, he celebrates the act of Being; inexplicable, because the music contains a rapturous beauty and a childlike wonder that can only be compared to Hindu and Persian miniatures, or Coptic ikons.

So, in my work Kaleidoscopes, I have attempted to pluck Mozart’s music from out of the harmony of the spheres, so to speak, and to meditate on it through four main cycles, moving through the tonal zones of D and B, G and E, C and A, then F and D, returning to the harmony of the spheres from whence it came, over a pedal D.

In a sense all the music has its source in Mozart, whether recognisable or not. Various rhythmic, harmonic and contrapuntal ideas are common to all the different essences, as is the ordering of the note patterns.

The solo oboe should be placed in the middle of the performance space, with the four quartets spaced around him in north, south, east and west directions, as far apart as is practicable. The oboist, who plays almost without stopping throughout, may also direct the performance.

John Tavener