• John Tavener
  • Resurrection (1989)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • recs.2afl3tpt.5tbntimp.perc.tamorgstr(1.1.1.1.0)
  • male choir + SATB
  • soprano, countertenor, tenor, bass, solos from the choir
  • 3 hr
  • John Tavener
  • compiled by Mother Thekla
  • Russian, Greek, English

Programme Note

Resurrection is an attempt, within the limits of words and music, to suggest the overpowering experience of the history of man's salvation. The three groups, Old Testament, New Testament and Liturgical, present the three basic aspects: The Old Testament group, in the words of psalms and prophets, gives the promise of salvation; the New Testament group, in the words of the four gospels, gives the account of the actual events chronologically of Betrayal, Passion, Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection; and the Orthodox Liturgical texts form the balance to the Old Testament. Whereas in the Old Testament the pre-Christian spiritual Fathers prophesy what is to come, in the Liturgical texts the Christian Fathers of the Church comment with fervent devotion and imprint on our memories what has come and henceforward is eternally present. I have intermingled the three sources to suggest that in salvation there is no past, present nor future: it is.

Musically, I have divided the instruments and voices into seven groups. Resurrection also falls into seven sections, representing the seven days of Holy Week culminating with Pascha. The seven groups are spatially separated. I have used primary colous rather like an ikon. Group I (SATB and String Quartet) is the liturgical group. Group II are the 'dramatis personae' (New Testament). Group III (trumpets and tam-tam) and Christ and Mother of God. Group IV is the organ. Group V are percussion. Group VI Old Testament (male voices, trombones, timpani). Group VII Recorders. And above all this is a group of voices (pre-recorded in a huge building from a great height) representing 'Paradise'. All these strands are interconnected, and everyone comes together in the seventh and final section,'Pascha'.

All three textural sources combine to testify to the essential central point of the Christian Faith: Chris, Incarnate God, who in His long-suffering love for His people, died on the Cross, of His own will that He may destroy death in His Resurrection. Yet all this was, as it were, only made possible by the obedience of one woman: Mary the Mother of God. So at the very end, after the joy of 'Pascha', she soberly leads us back into the world of repentance.

The text of Resurrection was compiled by Mother Thekla, Abbess of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Assumption, Normanby, and I owe her my deepest gratitude.

Resurrection is dedicated to my father.

Christ is risen
He is Risen indeed!

John Tavener