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John Tavener: The Veil of the Temple / Patricia Rozario, soprano

Album Summary

>Tavener, John : The Veil of the Temple (All Night Vigil), for soprano, chorus, boys' chorus, brass, temple bowls, ta
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

  • Mr. Tavener considered 'The Veil of the Temple' to be his supreme achievement, the greatest work he'd ever composed.
  • This set captures the key-moments of this epic 7-hour work, composed to last through the night until dawn in the manner of the grand vigils of the Orthodox Church.
  • Re-released to coincide with John Tavener's 75th year in 2014.
  • Conductor Stephen Layton directed the proceedings.

The Independent, 8th February 2014
The performances reflect Tavener's instruction that they should be "sung and played with restrained ecstasy" rather than excitement or melancholy, a guidance that ensured the "Funeral Canticle" made a sublimely peaceful send-off for the composer's father.

Gramophone Magazine, April 2014
Performance and recording are outstanding. An essential testimony to the vitality of the musical and spiritual vision of the final creative phase of one of Britain's greatest composers.

American Record Guide, July/August 2014
John Taverner considered The Veil of the Temple (2003) the supreme achievement of his life. This All-Night Vigil is a set of eight "cycles" extolling God in various languages (Aramaic, English, Sanskrit) and cultures (a few Eastern instruments are employed). The idea is to "bring together" the political conflicts between West (Christianity) and East (Islam) by emphasizing the main message: the eternal glory of God. This message is structured in its "cycles" progressing from darkness to light and rising stepwise in (diatonic) harmony from one cycle to the next. The work is certainly beautiful.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Temple Church, London (2003-06-27_2003-06-28&2003-).

For many years, John Tavener held firm in his allegiance to the Orthodox Christian faith, and his music reflected a strong mystical focus within the Byzantine and Russian traditions. Yet in his later years he appeared to modify his beliefs and adopted concepts from other world religions, so his theology and his music took on a more universal outlook. The Veil of the Temple is a large-scale choral work inspired by sacred music from around the world, and it brings together ideas drawn mainly from Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity, embodied in rhythms and chants from those sources. This performance by the Choir of the Temple Church of London, the Holst Singers, and the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Layton, emphasizes the ethereal and otherworldly aspect of the score, and the resonant acoustics of the Temple Church give the singers and instrumentalists an aural halo that suggests the spirituality of the ancient texts and evokes their remoteness in time. Yet this is a long piece, approaching 148 minutes in duration, and much of this music is repetitive, slowly paced, and somber in mood, appropriate to a reflective or meditative state of mind. Tavener's fans will want this performance for the sake of completeness, but other listeners should sample it first. ~ Blair Sanderson


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Works Details

>Tavener, John : The Veil of the Temple (All Night Vigil), for soprano, chorus, boys' chorus, brass, temple bowls, ta
  • Performer: Patricia Rozario
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Choir of the Temple Church
  • Running Time: 139 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2002