Apolytikion of Our Holy Father Nicholas

by John Tavener

John Tavener's Apolytikion of Saint Nicholas, is scored for unaccompanied SATB chorus. This work was first performed on 11th November 1997 by the choir of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, London. A full performance of the piece lasts around 1 1/2 minutes.

Strict rule of faith, and image of meekness, of self-discipline a teacher,
You revealed to your flock the things of truth:
For this you acquired the highest humility, the richest poverty.
Holy Father Nicholas, pray to Christ God to save our souls. Audio

Apolytikion for Saint Nicholas was written in 1988 at the request of Nicholas Tuckett, specifically for a recording made by the Kastalsky Chamber Choir in London. “Apolytikion” is a Greek word meaning dismissal hymn. The text is a brief extolling of the saint’s virtues followed by the invocation “Holy Father Nicholas, pray to Christ God to save our souls”, at which point the music changes from flowing melodiousness to a powerful expanding chord which then contracts again, to end on an octave.

This first performance is from a live BBC broadcast of Choral Evensong from St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle, on 6 December 2006 and features the choir of Newcastle Cathedral under the direction of Scott Farrell.

1.42 minutes

The second video is a recording of a live television broadcast on the 9th of December 2012 from the H Nicolaas Basilica, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  Sung by the Cappella Nicolai, conducted by Michael Hedley.

1.38 minutes

Program notes by Steven Karidoyanes, 2010

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