SIR John Tavener composes 'hauntingly beautiful' carol for Dorset girls' school
The Senior Choir of Sherborne Girls in Dorset will give the first performance of a new carol by Sir John Tavener at the school's annual Carol Service in Sherborne Abbey on Saturday 15th December.
Sir John wrote the work, O that we were there! as a thank-you to Sherborne Girls for educating his two daughters, Theodora and Sofia. The text is a line from the well-known Christmas hymn In dulci jubilo expressing a longing to be present at the birth of Christ. As well as being composed especially for Sherborne Girls, the piece is also dedicated to the memory of a Tavener family friend, Blossom Perronelle Barrow, who died of cancer, aged 12, earlier this year.
Sherborne Girls are no strangers to Tavener's music, having given first performances to the composer of some of his best-loved works in their version for upper voices: The Lamb, The Lord's Prayer and, most notably, A Song for Athene with Sir John's elder daughter, Theodora, playing the cello part at the school's Commemoration Concert in June 2011.
John Jenkins, director of music at Sherborne Girls, comments, "The girls are thrilled that Sir John has written this hauntingly beautiful piece for them. They have developed a real affinity with Tavener's music during the past few years and they are working hard to give their best possible performance in the presence of the composer on 15th December."
The carol service at Sherborne Abbey is open to members of the public.