(1989) is a valedictory tribute to the painter, the late Cecil Collins. Tavener writes that he opened the collected works of the Greek poet Seferis and found the haiku ‘To Yiasemi’ (‘The Jasmine’) while talking on the telephone to Mother Thekla. He read it out and she continued in English and Slavonic—‘it was almost like “dictated” writing’, the composer has said. The music is of extreme delicacy and transparent simplicity, like the text. Tavener asks for it to be sung ‘with unearthly stillness and purity; with no “expression”’. In this it is, like much else in Tavener’s work, as spiritually transparent as an ikon.
from notes by Ivan Moody © 1991