John Tavener

John Tavener (1944 - 2013)

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John Tavener
Born in Wembley, London, England, United Kingdommap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Child Okeford, Dorset, England, United Kingdommap
Profile last modified | Created 25 Jul 2018
This page has been accessed 42 times.

Categories: English Classical Modern and Contemporary Composers.

Contents

Biography

John Kenneth Tavener was born 28 January 1944 in Wembley, London.F[1] His parents ran a family building firm[[2] and his father was also an organist at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Frognal, Hampstead.[3] At the age of 12, Tavener was taken to Glyndebourne to hear Mozart's The Magic Flute, a work he loved for the rest of his life.[4] That same year he heard Stravinsky’s most recent work, Canticum Sacrum, which he later described as "the piece that woke me up and made me want to be a composer".[5] Tavener became a music scholar at Highgate School (where a fellow pupil was John Rutter).[6] The school choir was often employed by the BBC in works requiring boys' voices, so Tavener gained choral experience singing in Mahler's Third Symphony and Orff's Carmina Burana.[7] He started to compose at Highgate, and also became a sufficiently proficient pianist to perform the second and third movements of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto and, in 1961 with the National Youth Orchestra, Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2.[8]He also became organist and choirmaster in 1961 at St John's Presbyterian Church, Kensington (now St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church),[9] a post he held for 14 years.[10] Tavener entered the Royal Academy of Music in 1962, where his tutors included Sir Lennox Berkeley.[11][12] During his studies there he decided to give up the piano and devote himself to composition.[13] Tavener first came to prominence with his cantata The Whale, premiered in 1968. Then aged 24, he was described by The Guardian as "the musical discovery of the year",[14] while The Times said he was "among the very best creative talents of his generation." [15] Tavener had also been deeply affected by his brief 1974 marriage to the Greek dancer Victoria Maragopoulou.[16] [17] His chamber opera A Gentle Spirit (1977), with a libretto by McLarnon based on a story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, concerns a pawnbroker whose marriage fails to the extent that his wife commits suicide. It has been deemed "far superior to Thérèse, with the internal drama more suited to the stage".[18] Significantly, it also touched on Russian Orthodoxy, to which McLarnon had been a convert for several years.[19] Tavener converted to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1977.[20] Orthodox theology and liturgical traditions became a major influence on his work. He was particularly drawn to its mysticism, studying and setting to music the writings of Church Fathers and completing a setting of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the principal eucharistic liturgy of the Orthodox Church: this was Tavener's first directly Orthodox-inspired music.[21] It had been reported, particularly in the British press, that Tavener left Orthodox Christianity to explore a number of other different religious traditions, including Hinduism and Islam, and became a follower of the Traditionalist philosopher Frithjof Schuon.[22][23] In an interview with The New York Times, conducted by British music journalist Michael White, Tavener said: "I reached a point where everything I wrote was terribly austere and hidebound by the tonal system of the Orthodox Church, and I felt the need, in my music at least, to become more universalist: to take in other colors, other languages." The interviewer also reported at the time that he "hasn’t abandoned Orthodoxy. He remains devotedly Christian."[24] Speaking on the BBC Four television programme Sacred Music in 2010, Tavener described himself as "essentially Orthodox".[25]He reiterated both his desire to explore the musical traditions of other religions, and his adherence to the Orthodox Christian faith, on Start the Week,[26] recorded only days before his death and broadcast on 11 November 2013. In 1991 he married Maryanna Schaefer with whom he had three children, Theodora, Sofia and Orlando.[27] He suffered from considerable health problems throughout his life. He had a stroke in his thirties, heart surgery and the removal of a tumour in his forties,[28] and suffered two successive heart attacks which left him very frail.[29] He was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome in 1990.[30] [31][32]Lady Tavener broadcast a charity appeal on BBC Radio 4 in October 2008 on behalf of the Marfan Trust.[33] Tavener died, aged 69, on 12 November 2013 at his home in Child Okeford, Dorset.[34]In the music world, composers John Rutter[35]and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies,[36] [37] cellist Steven Isserlis,[38] Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Roger Wright, controller of BBC Radio 3 and director of the Proms, and soprano Patricia Rozario, paid tribute. A tribute was also received from Charles, Prince of Wales [39]. Tavener's funeral was held at the Anglican Cathedral in Winchester on 28 November 2013. The service was Orthodox, and presided over by Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira, the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and the most senior Orthodox bishop currently in the UK. Some 700 mourners attended.[40]

Compositions

  • Setting of the Credo (1961)
  • Genesis (1962)
  • Three Holy Sonnets of John Donne (1962; song cycle)
  • The Cappemakers (1964; one-act opera
  • Cain and Abel (1965; cantata)
  • The Whale (1965–66; soloists, speaker, SATB choir, children's choir, orchestra)
  • In alium (1968)
  • A Celtic Requiem (1969; soprano solo, SATB choir, children's choir, ensemble)
  • In memoriam Igor Stravinsky (1971
  • Responsorium in Memory of Annon Lee Silver (1971)
  • Últimos ritos (1972
  • Canciones españolas (1972)
  • Requiem for Father Malachy (1973)[
  • Thérèse (1973–76; opera)
  • Canticle of the Mother of God (1976)
  • Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (1977)
  • A Gentle Spirit (1977; chamber opera)
  • Kyklike Kinesis (1977)
  • The Immurement of Antigone (1978)
  • Palintropos (1978)
  • Akhmatova: Requiem (1979–80)
  • Sappho: Lyrical Fragments (1980; song cycle)[7]
  • Funeral Ikos (1981)[7]
  • The Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete (1981)[7]
  • Trisagion (1981; brass ensemble)[7]
  • Mandelion (1981; organ)[7]
  • Towards the Son (1982)[7]
  • To a Child Dancing in the Wind (1983)[3][7]
  • Ikon of Light (1984; choir, string trio)[3][7]
  • Vigil Service (1984)[7]
  • Sixteen Haiku of Seferis (1984)[7]
  • A Mini Song Cycle for Gina (1984)[7]
  • The Lamb (1984)[3]
  • Love bade me welcome (1985)[34]
  • Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (1986)[34]
  • Eis thanaton (1986; cantata)[3][7]
  • Akathist of Thanksgiving (1986–87)[3][7]
  • The Protecting Veil (1987; cello, strings)[7][33]
  • The Tyger (1987)[33]
  • Resurrection (1989)[3][7]
  • The Hidden Treasure (1989)[3][7]
  • Psalm 121 (1989)[34]
  • Thunder Entered Her (1990; SATB choir, handbells and organ)[7]
  • The Repentant Thief (1990; clarinet, strings)[7]
  • Mary of Egypt (opera; 1991)[7][33]
  • The Last Sleep of the Virgin (1991)[7]
  • The Apocalypse (1993)[7]
  • Song for Athene (1993; SATB choir)[3]
  • Theophany (1993; orchestra)[7]
  • Diodia (1997; orchestra)[7]
  • Prayer for the healing of the sick (1998)[34]
  • A New Beginning (1999)[3]
  • Fall and Resurrection (2000)[3]
  • Lamentations and Praises (2001; 12 male voices, string quartet, flute, bass trombone, percussion)[27]
  • Mother and Child (2002)[33]
  • Elizabeth Full Of Grace (2002)[35]
  • The Veil of the Temple (2003; soprano, SATB choir, boys' choir, ensemble)[3]
  • Schuon Lieder (2003; song cycle for soprano, ensemble)[3]
  • Laila (2004; music for dance; soprano, tenor, orchestra)[36]
  • Sollemnitas in Conceptione Immaculata Beatae Mariae Virginis (2006; mass)[3]
  • The Beautiful Names (2007)[3]
  • Requiem (2008; cello, soloists, chorus, orchestra)[3]
  • Towards Silence (2009; 4 string quartets, Tibetan temple bowl)[8]
  • They are all gone into the world of light (2011)[34]
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich (2012; monodrama)[3]
  • Missa Wellensis (2013; choir)

Discography

The Protecting Veil, Virgin 561849-2 Schuon Lieder, Black Box BBM1101 The Veil of the Temple, RCA 82876661542 Songs of the Sky, Signum Records SIGCD149 "Tavener: Choral Works," Hyperion CDA67475 Missa Wellensis, Signum Records SIGCD442

Sources

  1. "Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVGH-YP8L : 13 December 2015), John Kenneth Tavener, 2013; Burial, Child Okeford, North Dorset District, Dorset, England, St. Nicholas Churchyard; citing record ID 120221071, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com.
  2. Michael J Stewart (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  3. Ivan Moody. "Tavener, John", Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press. Retrieved 13 November 2013 (subscription required)
  4. "Music Obituary: Sir John Tavener". The Daily Telegraph. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  5. "Music Obituary: Sir John Tavener". The Daily Telegraph. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  6. Michael White, "A Time for Reflection", BBC Music Magazine, Vol. 22 No. 2 (December 2013): p. 29.
  7. "Music Obituary: Sir John Tavener". The Daily Telegraph. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  8. "Music Obituary: Sir John Tavener". The Daily Telegraph. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  9. "Our History (Pre-1975)". Stmark.org.uk. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  10. "Music Obituary: Sir John Tavener". The Daily Telegraph. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  11. Michael J Stewart (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  12. "Music Obituary: Sir John Tavener". The Daily Telegraph. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  13. "Music Obituary: Sir John Tavener". The Daily Telegraph. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  14. Meirion Bowen (12 November 2013) [13 June 1968]. "Two Tavener Works at the Queen Elizabeth Hall". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  15. Linn Records: "Carmina Celtica: Canty"
  16. Michael J Stewart (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  17. "Music Obituary: Sir John Tavener". The Daily Telegraph. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  18. Michael J Stewart (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  19. Michael J Stewart (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  20. Ivan Moody. "Tavener, John", Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press. Retrieved 13 November 2013 (subscription required)
  21. Anastasia Tsioulcas (12 November 2013). "Remembering 'Holy Minimalist' Composer John Tavener". NPR Music. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  22. Richard Morrison (November 2004). "99 Names for God: John Tavener Turns his Back on Orthodoxy". BBC Music.: p. 30. Tavener is quoted as saying, "It strikes me now that all religions are as senile as one another."
  23. David McCleery. "The Beautiful Names: John Tavener". BBC. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  24. "Christian Composer, Inspired by Allah's 99 Names". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  25. Sacred Music, series 2, episode 4, broadcast in the UK on BBC Four on 2 April 2010.
  26. "BBC Radio 4 - Start the Week". BBC. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  27. Michael J Stewart (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  28. Liz Todd Prince Charles's favourite composer John Tavener in fight for life Daily Mail 9 March 2008
  29. Michael White A rare meeting with Sir John Tavener, The Times 1 May 2009
  30. Michael J Stewart (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  31. "27 December 1999 – Music for a new millennium". BBC News. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  32. "John Tavener: God be in my head". The Independent. 20 June 2004. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  33. "BBC Radio 4 Appeal – Marfan Trust". BBC. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  34. BBC News (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener: Composer dies aged 69". Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  35. BBC News (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener: Composer dies aged 69". Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  36. BBC News (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener: Composer dies aged 69". Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  37. The Daily Mail: Charles leads the tributes as Sir John Tavener, one of Britain's most celebrated composers, dies aged 69 (accessed 13 November 2013)
  38. BBC News (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener: Composer dies aged 69". Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  39. BBC News (12 November 2013). "Sir John Tavener: Composer dies aged 69". Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  40. "Sir John Tavener: Hundreds attend composer's funeral" Amu Review The Independent, 19 September 2005. Retrieved 2010


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John Tavener
John Tavener

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