Tavener: The Veil of the Temple

The Veil of the Temple by Sir John Tavener
1 August 2015

The Scandinavian premiere of the all-night vigil The Veil of the Temple by the late Sir John Tavener took place in July, on the last night of the St Olav Festival in Trondheim, Norway.

Conducted by Stephen Layton, the performers included the soprano Patricia Rozario, Norwegian Soloists Choir, Holst Singers, Nidaros Cathedral Choir, Nidaros Cathedral Girls Choir, singers from Aurum, The Nidaros Cathedral Oratoriekor and the Det Norske Mannskor and Chorus. Owain was the organist for the performance.


Listen to excerpts from The Veil of the Temple here

View the scores here: Cycles 1-3 | Cycle 4 | Cycle 5 | Cycle 6 | Cycles 7 & 8

In the words of Sir John Tavener:

Although The Veil of the Temple is mainly Christian, it attempts to remove the veils that hide the same basic truth of all authentic religions. The timeless victory of Good over Evil is a victory that is ontologically necessary because it results from the nature of Being itself.
Darkness, even in winning, loses; and light, even in losing, wins. Such are the aspirations and metaphysics of The Veil of the Temple.

Stephen Layton, the conductor of the Trondheim performance, comments:

Sir John Tavener wrote The Veil of the Temple especially for the Temple Church, and for the premiere in 2003 we provided the appropriate forces to use in that building. During the rehearsals Sir John and I talked about his vision of a future performance in a cathedral, where further space and larger forces could be employed. Nidaros Cathedral in its darkness and luminosity is the perfect sacred building in which to perform this iconic work. This performance would have been a dream come true for Sir John Tavener.