• John Tavener
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich (2012)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • 0000/0.0.1+btbn.0/timp.perc/pf/str
  • Bass Baritone, Cello
  • 25 min

Programme Note

“If one wants to be heard, one must speak out from the top of Golgotha,
affirm the truth by suffering, and better yet by death.”

The Death of Ivan Ilyich – a monodrama for bass-baritone, solo cello, two trombones, percussion and strings, – came to me after a long illness. It was one of the first major works that I composed after that time, as though Tolstoy himself was waking me from a long creative sleep. The text is taken from one of Tolstoy’s last and greatest novels. The story of a dying man’s excruciating physical pain and his emotional and spiritual crisis is composed architecturally in an intense and terse manner. A glimpse of light occurs towards the end of the piece, after Ivan Ilyich has examined his miserable life. The work ends with an instrumental Apotheosis.


Tavener: The Death of Ivan Ilyich


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