Marcin has sent in his photographs of this concert, which took place on 19 June, and are (c) Marcin Mazur. The 99 Names was a new commission by The Prince of Wales from Sir John Tavener (seen above at the concert with Archbishop Gregorios, the head of the Greek Orthodox community in England and Wales).
It was the second visit this year by the Prince of Wales, who had earlier in the year attended the Verdi Requiem.
A new work by Tavener always arouses a great deal of interest, and this commision, because of its extraordinary nature, drew a full Cathedral. The work comprised musical meditations on each of the 99 names of Allah, usually sung by a soloist and then taken up by the double choir. There were orchestral interludes (in some ways the most successful part) commenting on each of the eleven sections into which the names were divided.
It was a moving and thought-provoking meditation, inviting us to contemplate the one God we worship through different eyes. Some of the names were familiar, others were challenging - but each of them offered a poetic insight into the nature of God. A motif throughout was the sighing of the choir, which to me evoked the Holy Spirit, signalled in the names 'He who gives life' and 'He who brings forth', as well as 'He who expands'.
Sir John had asked a young catholic artist to 'paint' the concert from the gallery; here he is in a yellow phase ...