John Tavener, who died in November, gave the world beautiful and
profound music in extraordinary abundance. His life and work were
dedicated to composing sacred music that
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.
spite of 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.
Temenos Academy expresses its sympathies to Sir Johns wife
Lady Maryanna Tavener and their children Theodora, Sofia and Orlando.
John Tavener Memorial Fund is being set up to benefit creative and
intellectual endeavours close to his heart. Initially the Fund may
be used to provide a suitable memorial, and thereafter for establishing
a foundation in Sir Johns name. Donations to the fund may
be made by sending a cheque made out to the John Tavener Memorial
Fund to Emma Law, Winchester Cathedral Office, 9 The Close,
Winchester, SO23 9LS.