• John Tavener
  • Prayer for Jerusalem (2006)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • strings
  • unison children's voices
  • 8 min

Programme Note

We live in the time of the last days of the Kali-Yuga, the Dark Age of Hinduism. The great religious traditions of the world are in a state of old age, and therefore of senility and human corruption. My Prayer for Jerusalem is an Invocation to the One God of Islam, Judaism and Christianity – Allah, Adonai, Kyrie. The Hadith of the Prophet Mohammed proclaims that God is a Beautiful Being, and he loves Beauty. Very little of that beauty can be seen in the behaviour of some among mankind, who are made in his image and yet at this moment in time seem to have become a distortion and a gross perversion of that Eternal Beauty.

In Prayer for Jerusalem, I have tried to rediscover something of that Eternal Beauty through the language of music. Children’s voices invoke the name of God as a mantra throughout, while the strings play a six-part canon based on the very name of Jerusalem, which is the spiritual home of Jews, Muslims and Christians, but also, and more importantly, a symbol of the Celestial City. The Prayer is a Triptych, rising to an impassioned cry in the central section, and then, in the final section, coming to a mood of serenity and Beatitude. Indeed, the very substance of the Divine Being.


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