Ikons : large chamber ensemble
by May Howlett (2000)
Ancient, mysterious, darkened by centuries of smoke from incense
holders, the gleaming oil lamps, and countless thousands of
candles, the ascetic faces on the icons forbid the uninitiated to
approach the holy sanctuary. The congregation stands humbly,
submerged in the deep tones of the black-robed priest's hypnotic
incantation; some seek a saint's blessing at little shrines by
walls and pillars, or gaze once more at the illustrations of the
Word painted on walls and ceiling by some longforgotten hand in
this world where Time stands still.
Having visited monasteries from famous Meteora in Greece poised, to escape hundreds of years of marauding hordes, on the top of a needle-point mountain hundreds of feet above the valley below, to Saint. Catherine's monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai on the Arabian peninsula, built in the territory of, and protected by, the Bedouin, I can attest to the fact that this world remains intact within the Monastery's walls.
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B flat, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets, trombone, bass trombone, timpani, percussion, harp, strings.
Duration: 8 min.
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