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John Tavener

M. Dale Prins

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Given my personal predilections, at some point I'm going to make it to his dozen or so works that include handbells (most famously, I believe, "The Last Sleep of the Virgin"), but really, the best starting place is the best starting place. So, help.


Metalfoot on Emmanuel Shall Come to Thee's Noel: "...this album is...monotony...bland, tripy fare..."

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A quote for you from a Jeremy Begbie interview, maybe stir up some conversation:

"JB: I think we need to be slightly careful about John Tavener. John Tavener is, of course, Orthodox with a capital

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(I've edited the title of this thread)

Interesting interview (and interesting that Tavener was at Trinity College!), but although Tavener apparent was orthdox (with a small "O") in the past, it looks like he may have left the Christian faith altogether.

I saw your recent post on Tavener at Jeffrey's blog, Alan, & I came over here & am glad I found this discussion. Thanks much for the links!

Earlier in this thread you mention The Veil of the Temple. I recently listened to that & it raised red flags for me. There were a number of things I would (admittedly ungraciously) refer to as "Gnostic garbage" in the words & the commentary. It got me wondering somewhat incredulously... has this guy been reading The Da Vinci Code??? (Using the climactic section of a major work to... criticize the Knights Templar? Who's next on Tavener's radar screen... Opus Dei and their alleged monks?) There are also comments about all religious practices being idolatry, to be progressed beyond (which is what he & his buddy are trying to do). That seems unorthodox virtually by definition. But I have to say, I actually laughed when I read the conductor's note that quoted performance notes (quoting from memory here) from Tavener, without any obvious relevance to the work, in which he "noted that Mary Magdalene embraced sacred nudity." Okaaaaaay. I guess they had to fit that in somehow, however awkwardly. So I was disappointed, although some of the music was wonderful.

BTW, one of his earlier works had a soprano duet that was I believe an ode of Sappho's, which is a bit off the beaten path as well.

I really love his smaller choral pieces, which are often in the Orthodox tradition, for example this. I could elaborate, but I won't unless someone wants me to. :-) But I distrust him these days.

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  • 7 years later...

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