This work for unaccompanied double choir (SATBSATB) was commissioned by the Summer Music Society of Dorset. It was first performed in May 1989 at Sherborne Abbey, Dorset, by the Tallis Scholars conducted by Peter Phillips.
Tavener:The remarkable text by Clement of Alexandria inspired this piece for double choir. From the stand point of today, when I take a perennialist and therefore universalist stance concerning all the main great religious traditions, this text is very close to my heart, as is also the music. The opening theme sung by the two choirs forms the basis of the whole work. Bold, simple, massive and ecstatic in character, I hope that this work restores something of a Gnostic dimension to Christianity, the loss of which could be said to be one of the greatest tragedies of Christianity in the West.