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Tavener: Village Wedding

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Published on Sep 3, 2013

Artist: Chanticleer
Album: Colors of Love
Composer: John Tavener (b. 1944)

Meant to convey a series of verbal and musical impressions of a village wedding in Greece, Tavener's music is set to a mix of texts from Angelos Sikelianos' poem" Village Wedding" interspersed with many repetitions of the line "O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child" taken from the Orthodox wedding service.

Text, by Angelos Sikelianos, translated from Greek by Philip Sherrard and Edmund Keeley:

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.

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