The Essential John Tavener – Now online
24th March 2015
The online guide is intended to be dipped into where interest and need dictate. It examines a range of works representative of the various times, beliefs and purposes within and for which Tavener wrote and presents their relationships without undue complexity, in order to give a comprehensive impression of his life’s work. We examine some of the principal themes permeating Tavener's work, and their evolution as it relates to his music over the decades. By considering these themes, we hope that you and your audiences might come to a clearer understanding of the concepts that anchor Tavener's music, and the utter joy and wonder that lies at the heart of his wish to convey these to the world through his work.
Each piece may fall under one or many categories, each of which represents a facet of Tavener’s spiritual evolution as it relates to his music. An explanation of each, followed by a list of all the relevant works included in the guide, may be accessed from the menu above. For each work listed there is a comprehensive note, and the whole is supported by a glossary explaining some of the more obscure terms and references. Lastly, the index by ensemble type allows those seeking works for particular forces to quickly discover which of those included might be appropriate.
Tavener's singular standing among contemporary classical composers was the result of his continuous effort to detach from the vagaries of fashion and place what he felt to be true and enduring at the centre of his musical expression. Almost all of Tavener's extraordinary output has concerned the most essential aspects of human experience at a metaphysical level. In addition, elemental sounds - the guttural voice of nature – were a profound source of inspiration for the composer from his childhood. Given these two very universal aspects of his music, it could be expected that it might communicate readily with many people. And yet, the world into which this music is received operates along increasingly rapid, humanistic and often superficial lines. Alongside more readily accessible and consequently popular pieces, there is a vast body of work that can in places intimidate in its solemnity of intent and aesthetic, deterring audiences who, with a little more understanding of the underlying concepts, might find much to enjoy and contemplate within it.