It is Tavener’s best known work, having been performed by the Westminster Abbey Choir conducted by Martin Neary at the funeral service of Diana, Princess of Wales, on 6 September 1997 as her cortège departed from Westminster Abbey. Commissioned by the BBC, the piece was written in April 1993 by Tavener as a tribute to Athene Hariades, a young half-Greek actress who was a family friend killed in a cycling accident. At the time that she died, Athene Hariades was working as a teacher of English and Drama at the Hellenic College of London. Tavener said of Hariades: “All of me john legend satb pdf beauty, both outward and inner, was reflected in her love of acting, poetry, music and of the Orthodox Church.
He had heard her reading Shakespeare in Westminster Abbey, and after her funeral, developed the idea of composing a song which combined words from the Orthodox funeral service and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The work was published by Chester Music in 1997. Orthodox nun who co-founded the Orthodox Monastery of the Assumption near Whitby, North Yorkshire, and whom Tavener called his “spiritual mother”. Tavener had come away from the funeral of Athene Hariades with the music of Song for Athene fully formed in his mind.
He called Mother Thekla the same day, and said to her: “I want words. She sent him the lyrics by post, which arrived the next day. The music reaches a climax after the sixth intonation of alleluia with the lines “Weeping at the grave creates the song: Alleluia. Come, enjoy rewards and crowns I have prepared for you.