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John Tavener

Publisher: Chester Music

Diódia - String Quartet No 3 (1995)
commissioned by the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, City of London Festival and the Festival de Saint Nazaire, Brittany
Chester Music Ltd
Small Ensemble (2-6 players)
Year Composed
42 Minutes
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Programme Note
John Tavener Diódia - String Quartet No 3 (1995)
The Greek word Diódia literally means "Toll Houses".

"For the testing of souls as they pass through the spaces of the air, there have been established by the dark powers separate judgement places and guards in a remarkable order. In the layers of the under-heaven, from earth to heaven itself, standing guard legions of fallen spirits. Each division is in charge of a special form of sin, and tests the soul in it when the soul reaches the division. The aerial demonic guards and judgement places are called in the Patristic writings The Toll Houses and the spirits who serve in them are called the tax collectors." - St Theophan the Recluse

This is the basis for both Diódia and my closely related metaphysical pantomime The Toll Houses. The surrealistic quality of both works underlines the existential interpretation of the concept of The Toll Houses.

The quartet may be heard as an existential journey in pantomime format. However it is a journey that passes through incidents but leads nowhere, because we do not know the judgement of God. Therefore it is a journey of no knowing; a musically related journey, but related paradoxically, on one level like a child's nightmare, absurd but also true.

John Tavener

  • Soloist(s)
  • Ensemble
    Vanbrugh String Quartet
    Patricia Rozario, soprano
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