Mandelion was commissioned for the 1982 Dublin International Organ Festival by RHM Foods. It was first performed on the 27th June 1982 by Pete Sweeney, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.
The piece takes its name from the Greek word for ‘handkerchief', a word that is also used in iconography to refer to an Ikon ‘not made by hands’, which is equivalent to the idea of the shroud. Mandelion is a meditation upon Ikons, and upon the changing image of the face of Christ.
Tavener recommends that this piece should be played freely and with great ‘sweep’.