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Song for Athene

First line:
arrangement for S solo, SSA + organ
author of text
author of text
Orthodox Funeral Service

Four months earlier, at the funeral of Princess Diana in Westminster Abbey, Song for Athene had made a huge impact, sung as the pall-bearers carried the Princess’s coffin to the West Door. It was composed in 1993, in memory of the young Greek actress, Athene Hariades, who had been killed in a cycling accident; the striking combination of texts had come from John’s spiritual adviser and mentor, the Orthodox nun Mother Thekla. Here is what the Times critic, Richard Morrison, wrote after the first performance in January 1994 at the BBC Ikons Festival celebrating John’s fiftieth birthday: ‘Tavener has set lines from Hamlet and from the Orthodox funeral service. The voices rise and fall over a drone. Then at the end, they turn majestically and movingly from minor to major. As in Bach’s ‘Crucifixus’, the meaning is unmistakable—something poignant, beautiful and truthful is expressed in fewer notes than the average pop song.’ The arrangement for upper voices and organ on this recording is by Barry Rose, who also arranged the next two pieces on the album.

from notes by Martin Neary © 2019


Allegri: Miserere
Studio Master: SIGCD085Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Naked Byrd, Vol. 1
SIGCD180Download only
Tavener: Angels & other choral works
Studio Master: CDA68255Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Tavener: Missa Wellensis & other sacred music
Studio Master: SIGCD442Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
This is the day
COLCD136Download only


Track 7 on CDA68255 [5'52]
Track 10 on COLCD136 [5'43] Download only
Track 1 on SIGCD085 [6'11] Download only
Track 8 on SIGCD180 [6'41] Download only
Track 12 on SIGCD442 [6'42] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDA68255 track 7

Recording date
27 February 2018
Recording venue
Winchester Cathedral, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
Andrew Mellor
Hyperion usage
  1. Tavener: Angels & other choral works (CDA68255)
    Disc 1 Track 7
    Release date: April 2019
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