The Bridal Chamber dates from three years later. It was written in memory of Pat Harrison, who was the inspiration behind the Little Missenden Festival, with which Tavener has been associated for many years – children from Little Missenden Village School participated in the premiere (1969) and subsequent recording of Celtic Requiem. The Bridegroom here is Christ, whose second coming is a recurring theme during the services of Holy Week in the Orthodox Church. The text of this exaposteilarion – ‘Thy Bridal Chamber I see adorned, O my Saviour, but I have no wedding garment that I may enter there’ – has led to the Matins services of the first three days of Holy Week being popularly referred to as ‘Bridegroom Matins’. Using a znamenny chant as a basis, Tavener sets the text in a radiant D major, but coloured by the frequent use of added ninths and suspensions: an apparently ‘wanton’ richness that would, a few years before, not have been apparent in such a fashion.
from notes by Ivan Moody © 2004