Hyperion Records

Tavener, Sir John (1944-2013)  

Sir John Tavener

born: 28 January 1944
died: 12 November 2013
country: United Kingdom

John Tavener was born in January 1944 in the Northern London suburb of Wembley Park. His grandfather, a keen amateur musician, ran a highly successful building and decorating business, whose clients were later to play important roles in Tavener’s musical career. His father played the organ at the Presbyterian Church in Hampstead and it was the minister there who was the first to commission a work from the budding young composer, a ‘Credo’ which was performed at the church on 12 November 1961. Although still a pupil at Highgate School, John was soon appointed organist at the Presbyterian Church of his own, St John’s in Kensington, a post he was to hold for the next fourteen years. In January 1962 he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music and began to study composition with Lennox Berkeley.

Although composing had already become his overriding passion, Tavener’s family was still expecting him to embark on a career as a concert pianist and to this end he was sent to play to Solomon, the legendary, but by then, paralysed pianist whose house had just been renovated by C. Tavener & Son. It was however, another of his grandfather’s clients who was to have the more lasting effect. She was Rhonda, Lady Birley, and it was at her home, Charleston Manor, that John was encouraged to flex his musical muscles and put on performances of his latest works. By the late 1960s the family firm had added The Beatles to its list of clients and was engaged in refurbishing their various houses and the offices of their Apple Corporation. The two Johns—Tavener and Lennon—met one evening in Kensington and, over dinner, played tapes of each other’s most recent music. So impressed was Lennon by what he heard that it was soon decided to record, on Apple Records, Tavener’s latest composition, The Whale, a work dedicated to Lady Birley but written for the London Sinfonietta’s inaugural concert.

The Whale certainly put Tavener and his music on the map and commissions started to come in from all sides. Most of these new works grew out of Tavener’s strong religious convictions which, at that time, were gradually, but inexorably, moving away from the teachings of the Western Church toward those of the East; he was finally received into the Orthodox Church in September 1977. As time went on, Tavener began more and more to incorporate into his own music the sacred tone systems used for the orthodox liturgy. The pieces he was then writing were predominantly vocal, but, in 1987, came The Protecting Veil for cello and string orchestra. Inspired by the Feast of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, the popularity this piece enjoyed did again for Tavener what The Whale had done for him some twenty years before; put him firmly in the public eye and made his music immensely popular.

He had been encouraged to write music for ‘the market place’, not just for the church, by Mother Thekla, Abbess of the Orthodox Monastery at Normanby in Yorkshire, who by then had become his spiritual adviser, friend and librettist. One of the many rich fruits of the collaboration between Mother Thekla and Tavener has been the opera Mary of Egypt which, after a very long gestation period, was first performed in June 1992. The part of Mary on that occasion was taken by Patricia Rozario and it has been with this splendid singer in mind that Tavener wrote several more of his works.

from notes by Peter Avis 1998

Albums
'Tavener: Choral Music' (CDA67475)
Tavener: Choral Music
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67475 
'Tavener: Choral Music' (SACDA67475)
Tavener: Choral Music
Buy by post £10.50 SACDA67475  Super-Audio CD  
'Tavener: Sacred Music' (CDH55414)
Tavener: Sacred Music
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55414  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Tavener: The World & Diódia' (CDA67217)
Tavener: The World & Diódia
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67217 
'Music for Remembrance' (CDA68020)
Music for Remembrance
Buy by post £10.50 CDA68020  NEW   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Hyperion monthly sampler – November 2014' (HYP201411)
Hyperion monthly sampler – November 2014
HYP201411  Download-only monthly sampler 3 November 2014 Release  
'Adeste fideles' (CDA66668)
Adeste fideles
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66668 
'Christmas through the ages' (NOEL1)
Christmas through the ages
NOEL1  Super-budget price sampler — Download only  
'Dreamland' (HYP41)
Dreamland
Buy by post £4.50 HYP41  Super-budget price sampler  
'Hear my prayer' (CDH55445)
Hear my prayer
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55445  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'The English Anthem, Vol. 3' (CDA66618)
The English Anthem, Vol. 3
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66618  Archive Service  
'The English Anthem, Vol. 5' (CDA66758)
The English Anthem, Vol. 5
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66758  Archive Service  
'The English Anthem, Vol. 6' (CDA66826)
The English Anthem, Vol. 6
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66826  Archive Service  
On other labels
'Tavener: Ikon of Light' (GIMSE404)
Tavener: Ikon of Light
Buy by post £6.75 GIMSE404  Gimell (budget price)  
'Tavener: The Veil of the Temple' (SIGCD367)
Tavener: The Veil of the Temple
SIGCD367  Download only  
'Tavener: Ypakoë & other works' (CKD492)
Tavener: Ypakoë & other works
CKD492  Download only NEW  
'Allegri: Miserere' (SIGCD085)
Allegri: Miserere
SIGCD085  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Parry: Songs of Farewell' (SIGCD267)
Parry: Songs of Farewell
SIGCD267  Download only  
'Tavener: Mother and Child' (SIGCD501)
Tavener: Mother and Child
SIGCD501  Download only  
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
… depart in peace … (Tavener)
Absolved in the mirror  Cycle 7 No 2 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Agios o Theos  First line to Trisagion I, Movement 3 of Ikon of Light (Tavener)
Akhmatova Songs (Tavener)
Alleluia  Cycle 7 No 8 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Alleluia, Theos Erastos  Cycle 2 No 6 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Alleluia. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  First line to The peace that surpasseth understanding (Tavener)
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam  First line to The Uncreated Eros (Tavener)
Annunciation (Tavener)
Apocalyptic primordial call  Cycle 7 No 1 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Arise, O God  Movement 1 of Ypakoë (Tavener)
As one who has slept (Tavener)
Awake thou that sleepest  Cycle 8 No 2 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Beatitudes of St Isaac the Syrian  Cycle 2 No 9 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Birthday Sleep (Tavener)
Boris Pasternak  No 3 of Akhmatova Songs (Tavener)
Butterfly Dreams. Butterfly Dreams based on Chuang (Tavener)
Butterfly Dreams. Butterfly Song from Acoman India (Tavener)
Butterfly Dreams. Haiku by Buson (Tavener)
Butterfly Dreams. Haiku by Issa (Tavener)
Butterfly Dreams. Haiku by Kokku (Tavener)
Butterfly Dreams. Haiku, anon (Tavener)
Butterfly Dreams. The Butterfly by Pavel Friedmann (Tavener)
Cosmic rising  Cycle 8 No 7 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Dante  No 1 of Akhmatova Songs (Tavener)
Dhoxa  Movement 2 of Ikon of Light (Tavener)
Diódia 'String Quartet No 3' (Tavener)
Dvustishie 'Couplet'  No 4 of Akhmatova Songs (Tavener)
Elthe to phos to alithinon  First line to Mystic Prayer to the Holy Spirit, Movement 4 of Ikon of Light (Tavener)
Eonia (Tavener)
Epiphania  Movement 7 of Ikon of Light (Tavener)
Exhortation and Kohima (Tavener)
Funeral Ikos (Tavener)
God is with us 'A Christmas proclamation' (Tavener)
God of strength  Cycle 6 No 3 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
God's creation  Cycle 2 No 2 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Gospel of St John  Cycle 2 No 7 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Hail, veil of the temple  Cycle 7 No 6 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Hesychast meditation  Cycle 7 No 4 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Holy Mary  Cycle 2 No 5 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Hymn for the Dormition of the Mother of God  No 2 of Two Hymns to the Mother of God (Tavener)
Hymn to the Mother of God  No 1 of Two Hymns to the Mother of God (Tavener)
I will lift up mine eyes 'Psalm 121' (Tavener)
Ikon of Light (Tavener)
In you, O woman full of grace  First line to Hymn to the Mother of God, No 1 of Two Hymns to the Mother of God (Tavener)
Into beauty  Cycle 8 No 3 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Jesus having risen from the tomb  Cycle 6 No 6 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Jesus prayer  Cycle 5 No 3 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Knights Templar in the temple church  Cycle 8 No 5 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Kyrie eleison: Chant  Cycle 6 No 4 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Let all mortal flesh keep silent  Movement 2 of Ypakoë (Tavener)
Light of Christ  Cycle 8 No 6 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Little lamb, who made thee?  First line to The Lamb (Tavener)
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace  First line to Nunc dimittis, Canticle 2 of Magnificat and Nunc dimittis 'Collegium Regale' (Tavener)
Love bade me welcome (Tavener)
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis 'Collegium Regale' (Tavener)
Many years (Tavener)
Maranatha  Cycle 8 No 1 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Mary Theotokos  Cycle 7 No 5 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Mother and child (Tavener)
Mother of God  Cycle 7 No 7 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Muza 'The muse'  No 5 of Akhmatova Songs (Tavener)
My help and protector is my God, and I will proclaim his glory  First line to Ode of Saint Andrew of Crete (Tavener)
My soul doth magnify the Lord  First line to Magnificat, Canticle 1 of Magnificat and Nunc dimittis 'Collegium Regale' (Tavener)
Mystery of the nothingness of God  Cycle 4 No 2 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Mystic Prayer to the Holy Spirit  Movement 4 of Ikon of Light (Tavener)
Mystical love song of the Sufis  Cycle 1 No 1 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
New Jerusalem: Upanishad hymn  Cycle 8 No 8 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Nunc dimittis  Canticle 2 of Magnificat and Nunc dimittis 'Collegium Regale' (Tavener)
O blessed paradise, pray for me  Cycle 3 No 3 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
O ye apostles, assembled here from the ends of the earth  First line to Hymn for the Dormition of the Mother of God, No 2 of Two Hymns to the Mother of God (Tavener)
Ode of Saint Andrew of Crete (Tavener)
Our Father  Cycle 2 No 4 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Outside the gates of paradise  Cycle 2 No 3 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Phos I  Movement 1 of Ikon of Light (Tavener)
Phos II  Movement 6 of Ikon of Light (Tavener)
Primordial call  Cycle 1 No 2 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Psalm of creation  Cycle 3 No 2 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Pushkin and Lermontov  No 2 of Akhmatova Songs (Tavener)
Remember us also, O Lord  Movement 5 of Ypakoë (Tavener)
Rending of the veil of the temple: Maya Atma  Cycle 8 No 4 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Schuon Hymnen (Tavener)
Shántih  Cycle 8 No 9 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Shûnya (Tavener)
Smert 'Death'  No 6 of Akhmatova Songs (Tavener)
Song for Athene (Tavener)
Te re rem: Ecstatic chant  Cycle 6 No 5 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
The Bridal Chamber (Tavener)
The gospel of St John  Cycle 7 No 9 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
The Lamb (Tavener)
The Lord awoke as one that sleepeth  Movement 4 of Ypakoë (Tavener)
The Lord's prayer  Cycle 5 No 4 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
The peace that surpasseth understanding (Tavener)
The Second Coming (Tavener)
The Tiger (Tavener)
The Uncreated Eros (Tavener)
The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
The World (Tavener)
Three Antiphons (Tavener)
Thrice-Holy Hymn: Resurrection  Cycle 2 No 8 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Tiger! Tiger! burning bright  First line to The Tiger (Tavener)
Today the Virgin 'A Christmas carol' (Tavener)
Trisagion (Tavener)
Trisagion I  Movement 3 of Ikon of Light (Tavener)
Trisagion II  Movement 5 of Ikon of Light (Tavener)
Two Hadiths (Tavener)
Two Hymns to the Mother of God (Tavener)
Weep not for me, O mother  Movement 3 of Ypakoë (Tavener)
What God is, we do not know  Cycle 6 No 2 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Whether it's dusk or dawn's first light  First line to Eonia (Tavener)
Why these bitter words of the dying?  First line to Funeral Ikos (Tavener)
You mantle yourself in light  Cycle 5 No 2 of The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Ypakoë (Tavener)
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