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Sir John Tavener

John Tavener

Tavener was born on 28 January 1944 in Wembley, London, England, and claims to be a direct descendant of the 16th century composer John Taverner.He was educated at Highgate School (where a fellow pupil was John Rutter) and at the Royal Academy of Music, where his tutors included Sir Lennox Berkeley. He first came to prominence in 1968 with his dramatic cantata The Whale, based on the Old Testament story of Jonah. It was premiered at the London Sinfonietta's debut concert and later recorded by Apple Records. The following year he began teaching at Trinity College of Music, London. Other works released by Apple included his Celtic Requiem. In 1977, he joined the Russian Orthodox Church. Orthodox theology and Orthodox 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 such as St John Chrysostom.

One of Tavener's most popular and frequently performed works is his short unaccompanied four-part choral setting of William Blake's The Lamb, written for his nephew, Simon, on his third birthday one afternoon in 1982. This simple, homophonic piece is usually performed as a Christmas carol. More important, however, were his explorations of Russian and Greek culture, as shown in "Akhmatova Requiem" and "Sixteen Haiku of Seferis". Later prominent works include The Akathist of Thanksgiving (1987, written in celebration of the millennium of the Russian Orthodox Church); The Protecting Veil (first performed by cellist Steven Isserlis and the London Symphony Orchestra at the 1989 Proms); and Song for Athene (1993, performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997). Following Diana's death he also composed and dedicated to her memory the piece Eternity's Sunrise, based on poetry by William Blake.

It has 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 mystic philosopher Frithjof Schuon. While he has in recent years incorporated elements of non-Western music into his compositions, Tavener remains an Orthodox Christian, although his brother, Roger, tended towards Sufi. In 2003 he composed the exceptionally large work The Veil of the Temple (which was premiered at the Temple Church, Fleet Street, London), based on texts from a number of religions. It is set for four choirs, several orchestras and soloists and lasts at least seven hours. The 2004 premiere of his piece Prayer of the Heart written for and performed by Bjork, was featured on CD and incorporated as the soundtrack to Jake Lever's powerful installation Centre + Circumference (2008, Wallspace, All Hallows on the Wall, City of London).

In the second television series of Sacred Music, broadcast in the UK on BBC Four on Friday 2 April 2010, Tavener described himself as "essentially Orthodox".

While Tavener's early music was influenced by Igor Stravinsky, often invoking the sound world of the Requiem Canticles and A Sermon, a Narrative and a Prayer, his recent music is more sparse, uses wide registral space and is usually diatonically tonal. Some commentators see a similarity with the works of Arvo Part, from their common religious tradition to the technical details of phrase lengths, diatonicism and colouristic percussion effects, though the similarities between their outputs are quite superficial. Olivier Messiaen has also been suggested as a strong influence on his earlier work.

Tavener has suffered from considerable problems with his health. He had a stroke in his thirties, heart surgery and a tumor removed in his forties, and suffered two successive heart attacks which have left him very frail and unable to work since December 2007. He has Marfan syndrome. His wife, Maryanna, broadcast a charity appeal on BBC Radio 4 in October 2008 on behalf of the Marfan Trust.

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Displaying 1-16 of 16 items.


John Tavener : Two From Tavener : SATB divisi : Sheet Music : John Tavener

John Tavener : Two From Tavener

Review:

Songlist: Le Roy Kyrie, Christe Jesu, pastor bone

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8056b | Sheet Music $3.95 | SATB divisi add item to cart Modern Choral Arrangements


John Tavener : Fall and Resurrection : DVD : John Tavener : D0841

John Tavener : Fall and Resurrection

Review: The World Premiere performance of Sir John Tavener's epic work written for the new Millennium, recorded in St Paul's Cathedral, London, in January 2000. The composer makes full use of the remarkable acoustic of St Paul's, presented here in breathtaking 5.1 Surround Sound.

Songlist: Introduction and Interview with Sir John Tavener, Titles: Fall and Resurrection , Part I; Silence, Darkness; In the Beginning, Before Time, Representation of Chaos, Paradise, The Serpent , Catastrophe: The Implications of the Fall, Adam's Lament, Part II: Prediction , Part III: The Incarnation of the Logos , Cosmic Dance of the Resurrection: All Is Transfigured , The Eye of the Heart: Sir John Tavener talks about his beliefs and music

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7543dvd | DVD $24.95 add item to cart Choral Performance DVDs


The Choir : Tavener: Choral Ikons : DVD : John Tavener : OA0855D

The Choir : Tavener: Choral Ikons

Review: The Choir sings Sir John Tavener's hauntingly beautiful unaccompaniedchoral music in a stunning virtual reality restoration of the ancient Hagia Sophia church in Constantinople. Orthodox ikons enrich the visual tapestry, enhancing the full richness of Tavener's mystic inspiration.The power of the performances is overwhelming and the credit goes to James Whitbourn and his vocal ensemble The Choir that he created for the express purpose of television and DVD recordings for Opus Arte. The Choir sing Tavener's music with great understanding and sensitivity to the religious texts. This DVD captures every beauteous moment of Tavener's music with The Choir. Opus Arte, as in all their productions, never leave you second-guessing about the music with their investigative extra features that bring further insight upon the chosen subject.The ikon chooses you which, together with an illustrated booklet containing an in-depth article on the inspirational power of ikons as well as the vocal texts and an introduction by Tavener himself, round off this beautifully presented package.

Songlist:

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7541dvd | DVD $29.98 add item to cart Choral Performance DVDs


John Tavener : Coplas : SATB : 01 Songbook & 1 CD : John Tavener : 888680045685 : 14043288

John Tavener : Coplas

Review: Coplas is a short anthem for voices and belongs to a much larger work called 'Last Rites' which is based on the mystical idea of St. John of the Cross. In once sense Coplas is a prolonged decoration of the 'et sepultus est' cadence from the Crucifixus in Bach's Mass in B minor. In another sense I think of it not so much as my music but a way of listening to Bach's music.

Songlist: Coplas

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8370b | Songbook & 1 CD $13.95 | SATB add item to cart


John Tavener : Choral Collection : SATB : 01 Songbook : John Tavener : 884088434540 : 0711977151 : 14032767

John Tavener : Choral Collection

Review: A collection of Tavener's most popular choral pieces most all of which are a cappella. The text of Annunciation is taken from St Luke's gospel. The words of the Archangel are sung by the main choir, and should build up to a thunderous, awesome theophany. The response of the Mother of God 'How shall this be' comes form a quartet of solo voices set apart, preferably raised in a gallery. This songbook includes program notes from Tavener himself.

Songlist: Annunciation, Come and Do Your Will In Me, Eonia, Funeral Canticle, Hymn to the Mother of God, I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes, Ikon of St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, Love Bade Me Welcome, Prayer To The Holy Trinity, Song From Athene

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9395b | Songbook $12.95 | SATB add item to cart Modern Choral Arrangements


John Tavener : Choral Music For Upper Voices : SSA. : 01 Songbook : John Tavener : 884088606343 : 1849382573 : 14037518

John Tavener : Choral Music For Upper Voices

Review: Original pieces as well as new arrangements for upper voices of some of the most popular titles from John Tavener's outstandingly varied and extensive list of works for choir. Over the years, we can trace a line from the exquisite simplicity of his setting of Blake's The Lamb to the monumental Veil Of The Temple. The arrangements are all for soprano and alto singers, with a varying number of parts, up to four sopranos and four altos (in Ikon Of Saint Hilda). An Organ or Piano accompaniment part is provided as applicable, with an additional optional Cello solo in Song For Athene.

Songlist: Agnus Dei (Missa Brevis), Awed By The Beauty (The Veil Of The Temple), Ikon Of Saint Hilda, Notre Pere, Song For Athene, The Lamb, The Lord's Prayer (1999), Theotoke

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6754b | Songbook $8.95 | SSA. add item to cart


John Tavener : Christmas Choral Collection : SATB : 01 Songbook : John Tavener : 884088423476 : 0711977143 : 14032768

John Tavener : Christmas Choral Collection

Review: John Tavener first rose to fame in 1969 when his cantata "The Whale" was recorded on the Beatle's Apple record label. Now one of Britain's leading choral composers his works included the poignant "Song For Athene". Here are eight mostly a cappella Christmas songs.

Songlist: O, Do Not Move, A Christmas Round, Ikon Of The Nativity, God Is With Us, Today The Virgin, A Nativity, The Lamb, Apolytikion Of The Incarnation

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9115b | Songbook $13.95 | SATB add item to cart Choral Christmas Arrangements


John Tavener : Coplas : SATB : 01 Songbook : John Tavener : 14043287

John Tavener : Coplas

Review: Coplas is a short anthem for voices and is part of a much larger work called 'Last Rites'. It is based on the mystical idea of St. John of the Cross which obsesses me - "the more I live the more I must die." Hence the deliberately static nature of Coplas.

Songlist: Coplas

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2979b | Songbook $8.50 | SATB add item to cart


John Tavener : Favorite Anthems : SATB : 01 Songbook : John Tavener : 884088992149 : 1783051736 : 14042356

John Tavener : Favorite Anthems

Review: Favourite Anthems' for SATB choir presents some of John Tavener's most popular works from his outstandingly varied and extensive catalog of works for choir. Also included are beautiful miniatures and radiant anthems which trace a line over the years from the exquisite simplicity of his setting of William Blake's The Lamb to the monumental Veil of the Temple and beyond.

Songlist: A Christmas Round , A Hymn To The Mother Of God, Advent Antiphon, Agnus Dei, As One Who Has Slept, Exhortation And Kohima, God Is With Us (A Christmas Proclamation) , Nunc Dimittis, O That We Were There, Rocking, Song For Athene, The Founder's Prayer, The Lamb, Today The Virgin, What God Is, We Do Not Know

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4044b | Songbook $14.95 | SATB add item to cart


John Tavener : Funeral Ikos : SSATBB : 01 Songbook : John Tavener : 884088427733 : 0711935696 : 14032853

John Tavener : Funeral Ikos

Review: A sacred work for unaccompanied SSATBB choir, using text from The Order for the Burial of Dead Priests, translated from Greek by Isabel Hapgood. Vocal score with piano accompaniment for rehearsal purposes.

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2974b | Songbook $3.95 | SSATBB add item to cart


John Tavener : Preces and Responses : SATB : 01 Songbook : John Tavener : 888680046651 : 14043326

John Tavener : Preces and Responses

Review: John Tavener's Preces and Responses for Double Choir were commissioned by Cathedral Commissions of Wells Cathedral and were first performed on Sunday 18th May 2014 during New Music Wells 74-14, by Wells Cathedral Choir conducted by Matthew Owens.

Songlist: Preces and Responses

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2980b | Songbook $4.95 | SATB add item to cart


Chanticleer : Tavener - Lamentations & Praises : 00  1 CD : Joseph Jennings : John Tavener : 41342

Chanticleer : Tavener - Lamentations & Praises

Review: John Tavener's 2000 composition, "Lamentations and Praises," a liturgical drama scored for male voices "singing in the Orthodox Byzantine style," flute, bass trombone, string quartet and a number of eclectic percussion instruments such as tubular bells, a Byzantine monastery bell, and very large Tibetan temple bowl. This is a profoundly religious work on the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ, written for the 12 voices of acclaimed Chanticleer, the only full-time classical vocal ensemble in the US. The beautiful and extensive liner notes take us through the 13 sections, or ikons, and explain in English what the singers are saying and what it means. Deeply meditative and beautiful!

Songlist: Golgotha: The Descent Of The Cross, Stasis 1 , Wherewithal Shall A Young Man, Thrinos , Epitaphios~Procession 1: From Golgotha To The Annointing Stone, The Descent From The Cross II, Stasis II , Let Now Your Mercy..., Your Hands Have Made Me..., Thrinos, Epitaphios~Procession II: To The Tomb Entrance , The Descent From The Cross III , Stasis III , Princes Have Persecuted Me..., I Awaited Lord Your Salvation..., Look Upon Me And Have Mercy..., Thrinos , Procession Into Hades (Into The Tomb), Resurrection In Hades

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6708c | 1 CD $15.98 add item to cart


King's Singers : Tavener - Requiem for Father Malachy / Canciones Espanolas : 00  1 CD : John Tavener : LYR 311

King's Singers : Tavener - Requiem for Father Malachy / Canciones Espanolas

Review: Legendary performances on CD for the first time. Described by Gramophone as possessing an "impeccably manicured vocal blend, enchanting the ear from first to last note," The King's Singers maintain the highest caliber of a cappella performance and continue to be one of the most sought-after and critically acclaimed vocal ensembles in the world. Recognition of that fact was underlined by a prestigious Grammy Award in the 2009 ceremony.

Songlist: Si la noche se hace oscura, Prelude, Pastorcico, non te aduermas, dime a do tienes las mientes, pase el agua ma julieta. Danza., Canto, Interlude, Rosa das Rosas. Cantiga de Santa Maria, Maravillosos et Piadosos. Cantiga de Santa Maria, Tres morias m'enamoram, Postlude, Haceme vivir penada, Requiem Aeternam, Kyrie Eleison, Dies Irae, Offertorium, Sanctus, Hosanna, Agnus Dei, Libera me

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4218c | 1 CD $15.95 add item to cart English Choral CDs


Polyphony : Tavener : 00  1 CD : Stephen Layton : John Tavener : CDA 67475

Polyphony : Tavener

Review: If John Tavener's music has always been concerned with eternity, and if it has always confounded those who have horizons no wider than Western traditions of the recent past, it is also true to say that the ways in which he has dealt with the sacred in his work have been characterized by considerable variety, and have never ceased on occasion to surprise. Initially, surprise was caused by his stripping away of the unnecessary, his quest for the musically - and therefore the spiritually - essential. This quest led to a vast outpouring of music, encompassing a great many miniatures and large-scale compositions of the stature of the Vigil Service and Eis Thanaton. 'The power of Tavener at his best is fully unlocked by Polyphony and Stephen Layton, whose sensitivity to the sacred and human in his music communicates in every work on this disc' (Classic FM Magazine).

Songlist: Birthday Sleep, Butterfly Dreams, The Second Coming, Schuon Hymnen, As one who has slept, The Bridal Chamber, Exhortation and Kohima, Shunya

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8106c | 1 CD $18.98 add item to cart English Choral CDs


Sixteen : Ikon of Light -  Sir John Tavener : 00  1 CD : Harry Christophers : John Tavener : 16015

Sixteen : Ikon of Light - Sir John Tavener

Review: Despite the mystic beauty of his music, John Tavener's place in Western music is a controversial one. His desire to create musical ikons for a time in which he believes 'man has lost his belief not only in God, but also in himself' is provocative. Yet part of the attraction of his music must surely arise from its symbolic nature, a reflection of his deeply-held Orthodox faith. This collection cvers a wide range of Tavener's celebrated choral output and includes his immediately popular setting of William Blake's The Lamb, and the luminously spiritual, Ikon of Light.

Songlist: A Hymn to the Mother of God, Hymn for the Dormition of the Mother of God, The Lamb, The Tyger, Ikon of Light, Fos I, Doxa, piu intensita, Trisagion, Mystic Prayer To The Holy Spirit, Trisagion, Fos, Today the Virgin , Eonia

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7912c | 1 CD $16.98 add item to cart English Choral CDs


St John's College Choir, Cambridge : Tavener - Song for Athene : 00  1 CD : Christopher Robinson : John Tavener : 8.555256

St John's College Choir, Cambridge : Tavener - Song for Athene

Review: John Tavener is one of contemporary music's most distinctive and recognizable voices; writing deeply felt compositions of instant magnetism and lyrical intensity inspired by a strong Greek Orthodox faith. At the very heart of his work is sacred music, a genre in which Tavener has established considerable fame with contemporary classics such as "The Lamb" and "Hymns To The Mother of God" as well as the elegiac "Song For Athene". "Svyati", for cello and chorus, takes the form of a musical incantation against the hushed voices of the choir. This rarely-heard masterpiece sees Tavener deploy an unusual combination of musical forces to powerful and moving effect.

Songlist: God Is With Us, Song For Athene, The Lamb, The Tiger, Magnificat and Nunc Dimiittis, Funeral Ikons, Hymns To The Mother of God, Love Bade Me Welcome, As One Who Has Slept, The Lord's Prayer, Svyati

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7562c | 1 CD $15.98 add item to cart English Choral CDs

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