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John Tavener

Publisher: Chester Music

Lament of the Mother of God (1989)
commissioned by the Norwich Festival of Contemporary Music
Publisher
Chester Music Ltd
Category
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
1989
Duration
10 Minutes
Chorus
SSSSAAATTBBB
Language
English
Soloist
Soprano
Availability


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Programme Note
John Tavener Lament of the Mother of God (1989)
In the Orthodox Church, the Lament of the Mother of God is normally sung on Holy and Great Friday. In its full length it lasts about half and hour, and it is intoned by the Priest or Bishop while the people venerate the Epitaphios (or Shroud of the Dead Christ), which is in the centre of the church and decorated with flowers.

The Lament must be sung with an ikon-like stillness and great purity. It grows in intensity as it climbs in tessitura, but without anything sudden or remotely melodramatic.

For the Orthodox Church there is never the sense of absolute desolation felt by the Western Church on Good Friday. Hence the cry of the Mother of God "Dost thou change my grief to gladness by thy Resurrection?", followed by the full forces: "Rise O God, and judge the earth."

John Tavener

  • Ensemble
    Winchester Cathedral Choir
    Soloist(s)
    Solveig Kringelborn, soprano
    Conductor
    David Hill
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