• John Tavener
  • Sixteen Haiku of Seferis (1984)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the St. David's Cathedral Bach Festival

  • timp.gongs.handbellsstr
  • soprano, tenor
  • 20 min
  • John Tavener
  • Seferis
  • Greek

Programme Note

These settings of sixteen Haiku by the Greek poet, George Seferis (1900-1971), were written on the Greek island of Aegina between August and November 1983.

The solemn and ritualistic character of the music was determined by the Haiku form, which may be thought of as a series of self-contained images, each with its own identity. The Greek texts, all of which are separated by and instrumental interlude, are shared between the soprano and tenor soloists, who sing the last 'verse' together after the sixteenth Haiku.

I am deeply grateful to Maro Seferiades for permission to set her late husband's words.

Sixteen Haiku of Seferis was commissioned by the St David's Festival with funds provided by the Welsh Arts Council. The BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra with Alison Gough (soprano) and Peter Hall (tenor) conducted by Gaetano Delogu gave the first performance in St David's Cathedral on 16 May 1984. It is dedicated with affection to Anastasia and Petros Morosinis, my dear friends and neighbours in Aegina.

John Tavener