Inspired by the great religious traditions, John Tavener’s music is celebrated for its enduring beauty and deeply spiritual outlook. His music has connected with audiences around the world on a profoundly emotional level, and has brought him commercial and critical acclaim rarely enjoyed by living composers.
The evening will include three world premières. The Love Duet from The Play of Krishna, performed by John Mark Ainsley, has been described by the composer as ‘the most ecstatic music that I have ever written’. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is Tavener’s recent exploration into the work of Tolstoy, performed by cellist Steven Isserlis with bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu.
Through MIF Creative, Tavener will also be working directly with the faiths that have influenced him; If Ye Love Me is a new piece for the MIF Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir, formed from faith communities across Greater Manchester working together to explore the beauty and power of voices raised in praise. The choir will also perform Tavener’s Mahamatar, set to Werner Herzog’s film Pilgrimage, alongside special guest Abida Parveen. Completing the evening is a rare performance of In Alium, Tavener’s radical Proms commission from 1968.
Listen to our podcast, featuring members of the choir being interviewed by Lopa Kothari and in rehearsal.
‘Love Duet’ from 'The Play of Krishna'
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
If Ye Love Me
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
MIF Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir
John Mark Ainsley
Elin Manahan Thomas
Commissioned by MIF Creative. Produced by Manchester International Festival.
Supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, PRS for Music Foundation,
Faith Network for Manchester and MIF Commissioning Circle.