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English composer John Tavener showed his musical talents at a young age, becoming proficient at both piano and organ. He soon began to devote himself to composition, attending the Royal Academy of Music, where he won many major prizes and awards. Since that time, Tavener has been commissioned by most of the major organizations in England and the United States, and was knighted in 2000. Choral music makes up the largest part of Tavener's works, ranging from simple carols to large-scale works with orchestral accompaniment. Lamentations and Praises, a 70-minute theatrical work co-commissioned by Chanticleer, the Handel & Haydn Society of Boston, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, debuted in January 2002.

John Tavener notes, "Village Wedding is a series of musical and verbal images, describing a village wedding in Greece. My insertion of Isaiah's Dance (the moment in the Orthodox marriage ceremony when the couple is solemnly led three times around the Holy Table by the Celebrant), and the whole tone of (Angelos) Sikelianos' poetry, however, show that everything in the natural and visible world, when rightly perceived, is an expression of a supernatural and invisible order of reality." Village Wedding was written in 1992 for the Vale of Glamorgan Festival, where it was premiered by the Hilliard Ensemble. Chanticleer gave the U.S. premiere in 1995 and recorded it for the grammy-winning Colors of Love.

- Andrew Morgan

Here is the complete text:

To my beloved, who breaks my heart.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

Do you listen within your veil, silent, God-quickened heart?

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

O depth and stillness of virginity! Follow your man.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

Let them throw white rice like a spring shower.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

Like a spring cloud, let her now tenderly spread her bridal veil.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

O the peace of the bridal dawn.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

And he listens, and he listens.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

And, as in front of a fount of crystal water,

Let the girls pass in front of the bride,

Observing her look from the corner of their eyes,

As though balancing pitchers on their hears.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

O, like Leto giving birth to Apollo,

Do you listen within your veil?

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

When standing, her hands slight and pale,

(Let them throw white rice…)

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

She clasped the ethereal palm tree on Delos,

Like a spring cloud.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

May you her mystical image…

O the peace of the bridal dawn.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

Held by your husband's strong heart,

And he listens.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

Bring into the world with a single cry your child,

As the poet brings forth his creation.

O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

04/07