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The Aldeburgh Festival returns to Ely Cathedral for Tenebrae's exploration of Catholic splendour and Russian Orthodox fervour, centred on the music and influences of John Tavener.

In his early career Tavener was fascinated by the ornate rituals of Catholicism, as exemplified by Tallis's spectacular 40-part motet Spem in alium - preceded here by the UK premiere of Unsuk Chin's specially-composed prelude - but in 1977 he joined the Russian Orthodox Church.

The works which followed his conversion, music of radiant beauty and transcendental simplicity, were inspired by the distinctive sound of Russian Orthodox choral music - warm, tender and, with its remarkable 'oktavist' sub-bass voice, as awesome as the setting.

Nigel Short director


Tavener Song for Athene
Gretchanninov Niine silye
Rachmaninov Hymn to the Cherubim
Tavener Pater noster
Golovanov Otche nash
Tavener The Lamb
Two hymns to the Mother of God
Chesnokov Tebe poem
Tavener Mother and Child
Glinka Hymn to the Cherubim
Rachmaninov Blazhen muz
Unsuk Chin Nulla est finis - a prelude to 'Spem in alium' (UK premiere)
Tallis Spem in alium

General booking opens on Tuesday 18 February. Tickets are available online at or by calling the Box Office on 01728 687110.