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John Tavener

Publisher: Chester Music

Eternal Memory (1991)
commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra
Chester Music Ltd
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
12 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)

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Programme Note
John Tavener Eternal Memory (1991)
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

Preview the score:

  • Ensemble
    Moscow Virtuosi / Kiev Chamber Choir / Chilingirian String Quartet
    Patricia Rozario, soprano / Steven Isserlis, cello / Vladimir Spivakov and Mykola Gobdych, conductors
  • Ensemble
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Raphael Wallfisch, cello
    Justin Brown
  • Ensemble
    Moscow Virtuosi
    Steven Isserlis, cello
    Vladimir Spivakov
  • Ensemble
    Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
    Ruth Palmer, violin; Josephine Knight, cello; Elin Manaha Thomas, soprano; Andrew Kennedy, tenor
    Vasily Petrenko
    EMI Classics:
  • 23 JUN 2018
    Schwaz, Germany
    Städtisches Orchester Schwaz
    Edgar Gredler, cello; Michael Plattner, conductor
  • 25 JAN 2018
    Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
    Orquesta de Sevilla
    Leonard Elschenbroich; Jean Luc Tingaud, conductor

    Other Dates:
    26 January - Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
  • 25 JAN 2018
    Teatro de la Maestranza, Seville, Spain
    Seville Symphony Orchestra
    Jean Luc Tingauad, conductor
  • 09 NOV 2013
    Wernigerode, Germany
    Philharmonisches Kammerorchester Wernigerode
    Hans Rotman, conductor
  • 04 APR 2012
    Manchester Camerata
  • 25 JUN 2011
    Eternal Memory, for Cello and Strings
    Winona Lake, IN
    Masterworks Orchestra
    David Hardy; Daniel Meyer, conductor
  • 20 MAR 2009
    Philadelphia, PA
    Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
    Ignat Solzhenitsyn, conductor

    Other Dates:
    21,22 March - Philadelphia, PA
  • 14 NOV 2007
    Bratislava, Slovakia
    Orchestra of Bratislava University
  • 02 AUG 2007
    Kotor, Serbia and Montenegro
    KotorArt String Chamber Orchestra
  • 04 MAR 2007
    Bochum, Germany
    Bochumer Symphoniker
    Jonathan Stockhammer, conductor
  • 08 JUN 2006
    St John's, Smith Square, London
    London Strings
    Richard Llewellyn, conductor
  • 22 MAR 2006
    Teatro Salieri, Legnago, Italy
    Orchestra d'Archi Italiana
    Mario Brunello; Mario Brunello, conductor
  • 03 FEB 2006
    Paradisi Gloria 2006
    St-Michaels-Kirche, Munich, Germany
    Choir of the Bayerischen Rundfunks
  • 05 NOV 2005
    Ensemble de la Chapelle Saint Marc

    Other Dates:
    6 November - Luxembourg
  • 09 SEP 2004
    Vale of Glamorgan
    Llandaff Cathedral
    English Symphony Orchestra / Cantorion Ardwyn Singers
    Raphael Wallfisch, cello; William Boughton / Helena Braithwaite, conductor
  • 15 MAR 2004
    St John's Smith Square, London
    Russian Chamber Orchestra of London
    Evgeny Shestakov, conductor
  • 21 FEB 2004
    Sherborne Abbey
    Russian Chamber Orchestra of London
    Chloe Hanslip, violin (Tears of the Angels); John Tavener, conductor
  • 20 JAN 2004
    Ulster Hall, Belfast
    Ulster Orchestra
    Raphael Wallfisch; Nicholas Cleobury, conductor
  • 13 SEP 2003
    Orchestra of St John's
  • 17 AUG 2003
    Alexandria, MN
    Lakes Chamber Music Society
  • 11 JUN 2003
    St John's Smith Square, London
    The Pharos Soloists
    Alexander Chaushian, cello
  • 22 MAR 2002
    Düsseldorf, Germany
    Das Orchester Damals und Heute
    Michael Willens, conductor
  • 02 MAR 2002
    Milton Keynes
    Milton Keynes City Orchestra
    Thomas Carroll, cello; Hilary Davan Wetton, conductor

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