Tavener: The Protecting Veil; Wake Up...And Die

Yo-Yo Ma

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Tavener: The Protecting Veil; Wake Up...And Die Review

by AllMusic

John Tavener's 'The Protecting Veil' is deeply rooted in his Russian Orthodox faith (Tavener, an Englishman, converted in 1976). The cello is the voice of the Mother of God; arising with the ethereal opening cello phrases, the work represents different phases of her life in that role: the Annunciation, her Lament at the foot of the Cross, the Resurrection. The first and last movements serve as a frame with which Tavener strives to depict "her cosmic beauty and power over a shattered world."

'Wake up...and Die' is a musical representation of a metaphysical paradox: spiritual awakening and rebirth as death to the worldly; physical death as an awakening to a higher spiritual realm.

In both of these works, as is common in Tavener's works for cello, the solo instrument is given a personification: the voice of Mary in 'The Protecting Veil,' and an individual mind on a spiritual quest in 'Wake up...and Die.' Despite the difference of these works from traditional solo works with orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma takes on these roles with elegance and grace. Ma and conductor David Zinman achieve an appropriate balance between cello and ensemble to reflect Tavener's spiritual conceptions.

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