The Fool is a time-honoured Orthodox religious figure: a Saint, the highest of all, who discards everything for Christ's sake. He discards all convention, all decency, all wealth, actual and spiritual, and turns himself into a figure of fun - defying all acceptable behaviour - and all religious decency. He stands in the square and lets down his trousers - he stuffs himself with food on Good Friday - he gets drunk - he "appears" to fornicate wildly. There is a faint possibility (in not the highest of 'Fools') of gaining worldly popularity by such flagrant denial of all moral behaviour. Can such behaviour be too interesting? The true fool, however, embraces all of this, and also (unseen) shrinks before the face of his God. By his behaviour he plucks out all hypocrisy, false piety, and corruption. He is a figure much needed in our times!!!
The way I have tried to tackle this extraordinary subject is to show him in seven stages from an obscene, huge, fat traditional clown who is drunk, fornicating etc., through a stumbling, frail agonized figure, to a sallow-faced, gaunt business man in a formal suit, staring at an empty glass. Having first revered him, then mocked him, the "people", while they get drunk and jabber away at "Christmas", and at the Feast of Feasts 'Easter', are no longer aware of him. But the audience sees him - a tiny, ragged scrap of mortality lying in a corner and faintly, so faintly the voice of the Fool, the true Fool for Christ's sake sings above the ribald crowd. "He has given His life".
The Gogmagogs are the 'people', 'priests', 'singers' etc. and one male singer who can "create" or "uncreate" this vast role (singing and acting, miming etc.) John Tavener
Arranged for SSATBB chorus. Date of composition, 2000. Chorus part only.