John Tavener 'Agraphon' arranged for soprano, timpani and strings. Commissioned by the Athens Concert Hall, first performed on 29th October 1995.
The music contains two symbolic ideas - the first being the opening series of intervals which appear to be inexhaustible in their multifaceted symbolism, representing the music of the spheres. If the angel's song is indeed one of knowledge, they could not choose a better theme of harmony. And then there is the apparent evil of the endless series of spiralling sixths and sevenths, falling without apparent hope of redemption through an eternal geometric series, down into a hellish realm.
Agraphon must be performed with great intensity, literally at the breaking point of intensity and petrification. For the voice the style alternates between European and classical Indian singing; for example, the passage beginning on page 12 is entirely semi-improvised. The singer must listen to many examples of classical Indian music, or else be trained by a master. The music ends fiercely at the incomprehensible clash and union between the Divine and the human.
Duration 22 minutes. Instrumental parts are available on hire only.