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
'Tavener: Choral Music' (SACDA67475)
Tavener: Choral Music
Buy by post £10.50 This album is not yet available for download SACDA67475  Super-Audio CD  
'Tavener: Sacred Music' (CDH55414)
Tavener: Sacred Music
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55414  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Tavener: The World & Diódia' (CDA67217)
Tavener: The World & Diódia
'Music for Remembrance' (CDA68020)
Music for Remembrance
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 88.2 kHz £12.00ALAC 24-bit 88.2 kHz £12.00 CDA68020  NEW   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Adeste fideles' (CDA66668)
Adeste fideles
'Christmas through the ages' (NOEL1)
Christmas through the ages
MP3 £4.50FLAC £4.50ALAC £4.50 NOEL1  Super-budget price sampler — Download only  
'Dreamland' (HYP41)
Dreamland
MP3 £4.50FLAC £4.50ALAC £4.50Buy by post £4.50 HYP41  Super-budget price sampler  
'Hear my prayer' (CDH55445)
Hear my prayer
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55445  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'The English Anthem, Vol. 3' (CDA66618)
The English Anthem, Vol. 3
'The English Anthem, Vol. 5' (CDA66758)
The English Anthem, Vol. 5
'The English Anthem, Vol. 6' (CDA66826)
The English Anthem, Vol. 6
On other labels
'Tavener: Ikon of Light' (GIMSE404)
Tavener: Ikon of Light
MP3 £5.49FLAC £5.49ALAC £5.49Buy by post £6.75 GIMSE404  Gimell (budget price)  
'Tavener: The Veil of the Temple' (SIGCD367)
Tavener: The Veil of the Temple
MP3 £15.49FLAC £15.49ALAC £15.49 SIGCD367  Download only  
'Tavener: Ypakoë & other works' (CKD492)
Tavener: Ypakoë & other works
CKD492  Download only 20 October 2014 Release  
Complete works available for download
… depart in peace … Clio Gould (violin), Patricia Rozario (soprano), Matthew Rooke (tambura), Scottish Ensemble
Akhmatova Songs Patricia Rozario (soprano), RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet
Annunciation St Paul's Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor)
As one who has slept Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Birthday Sleep Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Butterfly Dreams. Butterfly Dreams based on Chuang Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Butterfly Dreams. Butterfly Dreams based on Chuang Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Butterfly Dreams. Butterfly Song from Acoman India Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Butterfly Dreams. Haiku by Buson Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Butterfly Dreams. Haiku by Issa Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Butterfly Dreams. Haiku by Kokku Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Butterfly Dreams. Haiku, anon Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Butterfly Dreams. The Butterfly by Pavel Friedmann Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Diódia 'String Quartet No 3' RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet
Eonia St George's Chapel Choir Windsor, Christopher Robinson (conductor), Colin Cartwright (alto)
Exhortation and Kohima Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Funeral Ikos The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips (conductor)
God is with us 'A Christmas proclamation' St George's Chapel Choir Windsor, Christopher Robinson (conductor), James Oxley (tenor), Roger Judd (organ)
I will lift up mine eyes 'Psalm 121' St Paul's Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor)
Ikon of Light The Tallis Scholars, Chilingirian Quartet, Peter Phillips (conductor)
Love bade me welcome St George's Chapel Choir Windsor, Christopher Robinson (conductor)
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis 'Collegium Regale' St George's Chapel Choir Windsor, Christopher Robinson (conductor)
Many years Patricia Rozario (soprano), RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet
Ode of Saint Andrew of Crete Jeremy White (bass), The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips (conductor)
Ode of Saint Andrew of Crete St George's Chapel Choir Windsor, Christopher Robinson (conductor), Matthew Brook (bass)
Schuon Hymnen Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Shûnya Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
The Bridal Chamber Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
The Lamb The Tallis Scholars, Sir John Tavener (conductor)
The Lamb St George's Chapel Choir Windsor, Christopher Robinson (conductor)
The Lamb Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
The peace that surpasseth understanding Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor), Robert Quinney (organ)   NEW
The Second Coming Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
The Tiger St George's Chapel Choir Windsor, Christopher Robinson (conductor)
The Uncreated Eros St George's Chapel Choir Windsor, Christopher Robinson (conductor)
The World Patricia Rozario (soprano), RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet
Three Antiphons St Paul's Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor)
Today the Virgin 'A Christmas carol' St George's Chapel Choir Windsor, Christopher Robinson (conductor)
Trisagion The Wallace Collection
Two Hadiths Canty, Rebecca Tavener (conductor), Micaela Haslam (harp), Anne Lewis (harp), Joanne Wicks (harp), William Taylor (harp)
Two Hymns to the Mother of God St George's Chapel Choir Windsor, Christopher Robinson (conductor)
Ypakoë Elena Riu (piano)
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
… depart in peace … (Tavener)
Absolved in the mirror   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   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Alleluia, Theos Erastos   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   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Arise, O God  Movement 1 of Ypakoë (Tavener)
As one who has slept (Tavener)
Awake thou that sleepest   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Beatitudes of St Isaac the Syrian   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   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   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
God's creation   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Gospel of St John   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Hail, veil of the temple   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Hesychast meditation   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Holy Mary   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   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Jesus having risen from the tomb   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Jesus prayer   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Knights Templar in the temple church   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Kyrie eleison: Chant   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Let all mortal flesh keep silent  Movement 2 of Ypakoë (Tavener)
Light of Christ   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   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Mary Theotokos   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Mother of God   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   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   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
New Jerusalem: Upanishad hymn   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Nunc dimittis  Canticle 2 of Magnificat and Nunc dimittis 'Collegium Regale' (Tavener)
O blessed paradise, pray for me   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   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Outside the gates of paradise   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   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Psalm of creation   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   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Schuon Hymnen (Tavener)
Shántih   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Shûnya (Tavener)
Smert 'Death'  No 6 of Akhmatova Songs (Tavener)
Te re rem: Ecstatic chant   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
The Bridal Chamber (Tavener)
The gospel of St John   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   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   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   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   The Veil of the Temple (Tavener)
Ypakoë (Tavener)
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