is a setting of verses by Kathleen Raine, the poet and distinguished scholar of Blake and Yeats. Composed in 1997, the work was first performed by Patricia Rozario and the Vanbrugh Quartet on 2 July 1999, as part of the West Cork Chamber Music Festival. A version for soprano and string orchestra was first heard in Belfast in August 1999. According to the composer’s performance note The World
‘should be performed at maximum intensity throughout. White hot, white cold – intensely loud, intensely soft – almost unbearable – that which is nowhere and everywhere – not human but divine – theanthropic’. Tavener recalls how the mantra-like quality of the poem immediately suggested to him a musical setting, while a Byzantine palindrome which he saw inscribed on a fountain in Istanbul strongly influenced the melodic content. The work was dedicated to Kathleen Raine on the occasion of her ninetieth birthday.
from notes by Phillip Borg-Wheeler © 2001