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John Tavener - Ikon of Light - Funeral Ikos - The Lamb

Written for The Tallis Scholars, Ikon of Light is scored for double choir and string trio, heard from a distance. The sonorous choral textures have a strongly mystical spirit which radiantly expresses the Greek concept of light.


Funeral Ikos sets an English translation (by Isabel Hapgood) of part of the Greek funeral sentences for the burial of priests. Tavener adopts an austerely beautiful style, his music repeating six times in different scorings to cover the whole text. Each section ends with the same ‘Alleluia’.

The text of The Lamb comes from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence. Tavener’s setting, based on a short musical idea sung with its inversion, has become widely known. It is conducted in this recording by the composer.

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