Sunday, February 04, 2007

John Tavener: Eternity's Sunrise

Sir John Tavener's album is worthy of being mentioned completely on its own, but the reason why I'm posting about it today is because I was quite delighted to discover not only that his piece "Eternity's Sunrise" was used extensively (and quite effectively, I might add) in the movie Children of Men but Tavener actually composed the entire film score (you bet your ass, I am buying that puppy asap).

Tavener is a 20th century English composer whose works are often influences by Orthodox theology. The concept of the album is quite interesting. It was recorded with the Academy of Ancient Music and utilizes old instruments with the modern works. Themes of death, loss, love, hope and eternity run throughout the album. The song, "Eternity's Sunrise" was composed shortly after his father's death and the passing of Princess Diana (to which the song was dedicated to). The words are taken from a William Blake poem of the same name. I should note the song is incredibly difficult to sing, requiring barely any use of vibrato and pure toned, sustained notes. Patricia Rosario does this to perfection as she sings:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
He who kisses the joy as it flies

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Lives in Eternity's Sunrise

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
He who kisses the joy as it flies

I found the incorporation of this song with the Children of Mem film score fascinating. In the movie, humanity is on the brink of extinction due to global infertility that has lasted 20 years, war and economic mishap. Without giving away too much, the movie centers around a main character Kee, who is miraculously pregnant. In the liner notes, Tavener mentions that the solo soprano represents Mother Earth, a symbol of fertility. This song is essentially Kee's theme.

Listen to:
"Eternity's Sunrise"(edit)

Sir John Tavener's Official Website
John Tavener's Wiki Entry
Children of Men Official Website
Buy Eternity's Sunrise from

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stunning and emotional song... but I don't believe that she's singing those lyrics! It just sounds like she's going "ahhhh ahhhh!"

Did they add some parts to the William Blake poem? I seem to remember that it just goes something like:

To see a world in a grain of sand
or Heaven in a wildflower
hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
and Eternity in an hour.

Or maybe there are different version of that poem.

Monday, February 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote down the lyrics that she sings, not the poem...which might explain why you're only hearing the "ahhh ahhh!" LOL. Tavener's music tends to be liturgical.

It's basically the poem with the added breaks in it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for your blogsite. I saw Children of Men last night. What was even more moving than the movie was documentary of interivews on the extras with interviews with diverse world thinkers on the current state of our world. To see the elder statesman James Lovelock was fine. Then I went and ordered Tavener's soundtrack from ipod and while listening today I wished I could understand the words better and so found your site. Thanks again.

Saturday, April 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad the posting was useful for you. Children of Men really is an amazing movie--probably one of the best movies I've ever seen. I agree, the extras commentary on the DVD makes it worth purchasing.

Thursday, May 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm trying hard, but I have difficulties to link the song to the lyrics.
Wonderful song anyway.
Wonderful movie too.

Sunday, September 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this.

Monday, November 10, 2008  

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