Commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra

  • str(
  • cello
  • 12 min

Programme Note

In the great creative cultures of the world, human beings do not regard themselves as two-legged animals, descended from the apes, whose needs and satisfactions can be achieved through pursuing social, political and economic self-interest in the material world and as though their life was confined to a material space-time dimension. On the contrary, they think of themselves first and foremost as descended from the gods, or from God, and as heirs to eternity, with a destiny that goes far beyond anything that can be fulfilled in terms of the material world. They come from a divine source, and the divine world is their birthright and their true home. Here, a certain act of recollection is needed: the self-image and world view that may dominate us have their origin in a loss of memory, in a forgetfulness of all other. Eternal Memory is about this concept.

Eternal Memory is a meditation on "the remembrance of death" - Remembrance of the Paradise Lost, in the first section, and then in the middle section, which has an insubstantial illusory quality, the material of the paradise lost is the same, but it is "like castles children build in the sand". The enjoyment is limited merely to the effort one puts in building them. And as soon as you stop, the sand collapses and leaves not a trace of the work you put in" (St Gregory of Nyssa).

The final section looks forward to the unknown paradise promised to us, yet to come so, in spite of the ephemeral middle section, Paradise persists, even though we don not know what it is.

John Tavener


Eternal Memory for Solo Cello and Strings: I. With Great Peace and Serenity
Eternal Memory for Solo Cello and Strings: II. Dance-like and Slightly Grotesque, with an Illusion of Motion
Eternal Memory for Solo Cello and Strings: III. With Great Peace and Serenity



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