This week’s music is The Lamb by English composer John Tavener. Tavener wrote the following about the piece, which is based on William Blake’s poem by the same name, in 2004:
“The Lamb was written . . . for my then 3-year old nephew, Simon. It was composed from seven notes in an afternoon. Blake’s child-like vision perhaps explains The Lamb’s great popularity in a world that is starved of this precious and sacred dimension in almost every aspect of life.”
If his goal was to create a brief moment of transcendence, Tavener succeeded. The Lamb is a haunting work for a capella choir, written in 1982, that harkens back to the era of Gregorian chant. Listen for the way the choir begins the piece with unison moving lines that shift up and down together. This chant-like atmosphere then gives way to a series of individual lines that weave in and out of each other (somewhat evocative of Stravinsky, who was one of Tavener’s most significant musical influences) before coming back together at the end.
One thought on “The Lamb”
I love Blake’s poem and Taverner’s setting!