Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tavener joined the Russian Orthodox Church in 1977 which became a major influence on his work. He is particularly drawn to the mystical branch of the faith, and has studied the works of the Spanish mystics (for instance St. John of the Cross), often setting their writings.
Later prominent works include The Akathist of Thanksgiving 1988, The Protecting Veil debuted with cellist Steven Isserlis at the 1989 Proms (released 1992 by Virgin Classics) and Song For Athene (sung at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales). After Diana's death in 1997 he composed Eternity's Sunrise , based on poetry of William Blake, and dedicated it to her memory.
In 2003 John Tavener, composed his monumental work The Veil of the Temple (performed by four choirs, several orchestras and soloists, lasting seven hours) based upon texts from the book "Medieval and Renaissance Serbian Poetry 1200-1700" written by Predrag R. Dragić Kijuk.
While his early music was influenced by late Stravinsky, often invoking the sound world of the Requiem Canticles and A Sermon, A Narrative and a Prayer , his recent music is spare, uses wide registral space, and often is diatonically tonal. Some commentators see a similarity to the works of Arvo Pärt, from the obvious common religious tradition to the technical details of phrase lengths, diatonicism, and coloristic percussion effects. Messiaen is also arguably a strong influence throughout his career.
He was knighted for his services to music in the 2000 New Year’s Honours list.
John Tavener should not be confused with John Taverner (with an R), the 16th century composer.
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