Ikon of Eros expresses a moving interplay between the forces of the orchestra, depicting aspects of the Divine Spirit, and the violin, representing the "Divine Eros" -- "our longing for God and His longing for us." The music speaks deeply to a universal longing for love, peace transcendence that unite all faiths."
Prof. Johnson's recording amazingly captures the enveloping sound of the massed orchestra, choir and soloists in magnificent acoustics of the Cathedral of Saint Paul, MN, creating a transcendent musical and audio experience.
Tavener's dedication: "To the Blessed Country of Greece, who through her landscape and her Holy Orthodox Faith has shown me something of the Divine Eros."
The composer writes: What began as a piece of music for violin and orchestra ended up as Ikon of Eros, for solo violin, orchestra and choir. The choir acts like a Greek chorus, singing at some distance from the other performers: they sing key words in Greek: Metemorphothes (Transfigured), Eros (Divine love), Ekstasis (Ecstasy) and Alliluia (then unending song of the Angels). The brass instruments represent God the Father; the strings God the Son; and the woodwind, God the Holy Spirit. The solo violin, which plays almost continuously, represents Divine Eros itself (common in its deepest sense to all religious traditions), and also our longing for God and His longing for us. It should play from high up, above the main group. The layout out of performers will vary according to the building, but it should be Trinitarian in form, ideally shaped like a pyramid with the solo violin at the pinnacle, or at least above the orchestra: The music should ideally be played in a resonant acoustic, with plenty of space to emphasize the musical symbolism and metaphysics. In one sense the music must fail because of the impossible task of reaching Divine Eros. However, it is humbly offered to those "who have ears to hear."
"Top-notch Tavener with the orchestra's leader on soaring form... I would venture to say that Ikon of Eros is the most alluring of Tavener's recent works... the recording seems close to ideal. Both the performance and the engineering are unlikely to be bettered any time soon." - Gramophone
Jorja Fleezanis, violin
Patricia Rosario, soprano
Tim Krol, baritone
Paul Goodwin, conductor
Ikon of Eros for Violin, Chorus and Orchestra
plus an exclusive 10-minute interview with Sir John Tavener himself, discussing the Ikon of Eros.
Recorded April 2-3, 2003 at Cathedral of Saint Paul, Saint Paul, Minnesota.