John Tavener gave the world beautiful and profound music in extraordinary
abundance. His life and work were dedicated to composing sacred
lead[s] us to the threshold of a true encounter
with the living God.
and the Temenos Academy of which Sir John Tavener was a Fellow
- were blessed in enjoying an association with him that extended
over 25 years. In 1988 his Ikon of Light was performed
at the second Temenos Conference at Dartington Hall and the talk
he gave there, Sacred Music in the Twentieth Century,
was published in Temenos 9. He spoke at the Temenos Academy in 1994
on the theme Imagination and the Composer: the Protecting
Veil. Two concerts of Sir Johns music given at St Jamess
Palace in the presence of the Patron of the Temenos Academy HRH
The Prince of Wales followed: in 1999 Steven Isserlis, Patricia
Rozario and the Vanbrugh Quartet performed a programme that included
The World (a setting of the poem by Kathleen Raine),
Akhmatova Songs and Thrinos; in 2005 Patricia
Rozario and the Schubert Ensemble performed Schuon Lieder.
Lastly and unforgettably for those fortunate to be present
Sir Johns Mahavakyas, commissioned by the
Temenos Academy, Ahkmatova Songs and Chant,
were performed by Ann de Renais (soprano) and Josephine Knight (cello)
on 15 September 2013 at the Temenos Conference at St Hildas
College, Oxford. The concert was given in Sir Johns presence
and the photograph of him that appears here was taken on that day.
his fame Sir John was the mildest, kindest and most charming man
one could hope to meet. He has left a legacy of sublime music which
will last for centuries.