• John Tavener
  • Towards the Son: Ritual Procession (1982)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Cheltenham Festival

  • 02020010timp.perc4bowed psalteriesva[+].vc[+].db[+][3 trebles off-stage]
  • 18 min

Programme Note

'Towards the Son' is a Ritual Procession. The music is as simple and transparent as possible. Twelve chromatically different notes move in procession. Various permutations provide the long song and simple counterpoint, while the slow moving rhythms undergo constant change. The original twelve notes and rhythms become a kind of passacaglia, while the important parts for handbells and gongs are a canon which gradually catches up and finally overtakes the 'singing' instruments, and then peals all their notes. The prominent sound of bowed psalteries and crotales, also moving in procession and constantly changing, was the first idea that I had for this brief ritual. The cry of the Angels in Greek 'Agios o Theos' (Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us) brings the procession to a halt.

This work, written for and first performed by Richard Hickox and the City of London Sinfonia with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain, was completed in Athens in 1982. The first performance was given during the 40th Cheltenham International Festival of Music on 12th July 1984 in the Town Hall. 'Towards the Son' is dedicated to Cecil Collins.

John Tavener