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John Tavener

Publisher: Chester Music

Elizabeth Full Of Grace (2002)
Commissioned by HRH the Prince of Wales in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and in Aid of The Saints Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy, Moscow.
Publisher
Chester Music Ltd
Category
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
2002
Duration
15 Minutes
Chorus
SSAATTBB, boys’ choir
Solo Instrument(s)
Large Tibetan temple bowl, organ
Orchestration
Programme Note
John Tavener Elizabeth Full Of Grace (2002)
Commissioned by HRH the Prince of Wales in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and in Aid of The Saints Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy, Moscow.

Esoterically speaking, Elizabeth – full of Grace is about the life and martyrdom of Grand Duchess St. Elizabeth, New Martyr of Russia. It resembles an Ikon in sound in its severity of form, and in its ritual incantation of the name of Elizabeth. It is a succinct telling of the outward story of her life; her descent into hell (represented by the violent intrusion of the full organ – she was hurled down a mine by the Bolsheviks); and a shimmering evocation of the sweet perfume that emanated from her uncorrupted body when it was later discovered in Jerusalem.

Esoterically, the music is a Prayer. Life, death, the encounter with God, then eternity – all these realities are already present in Prayer, in the timeless actuality of the Divine Presence. Being present with God in prayer is a death in life and a life in death, as it was for St. Elizabeth, and as it will be for us. Holy Elizabeth, pray to god for us!

The music uses three sets of boys' voices (trebles and altos) two of which should be positioned at a distance from the main choir and orchestra. It is punctuated by the sound of a large Tibetan temple bowl.

Elizabeth – full of Grace is also dedicated to the memory of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

J.T.

  • Ensemble
    Choir of Temple Church / Holst Singers / English Chamber Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    Natalie Clein, cello (extracts only of The Protecting Veil and The Veil of the Temple)
    Conductor
    Stephen Layton
    Decca:
Performances
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