Friday, November 15, 2013

John Tavener RIP

 Tavener's "Funeral Ikos"

English composer John Tavener died Tuesday at the age of 69.   No wallflower, Tavener stood 6 feet 6 inches, had shoulder-length hair, liked wearing fur coats, and drove around London in an Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphire.  Tavener was also a favorite of the Beatles;  John Lennon even authorized the recording of Tavener's composition "The Whale" on the Beatles' Apple label.   Tavener continued living in rakish playboy style, until a love affair with a woman who eventually entered a convent awakened an interest in Catholicism.   This interest was reflected in Tavener's compositions from the period, particularly "Ultimos Ritos," which was inspired by the writings of St John of the Cross. After marrying a much younger Greek woman, Tavener was received into the Greek Orthodox church.  Although they quickly divorced, Tavener would go on to compose a great deal of music inspired by the Orthodox liturgy.  Tavener's "Song for Athene" was sung at Lady Diana's funeral, bringing Tavener's work to a much broader audience.