Composer set mood at Princess Di's funeral
LONDON — British composer John Tavener, whose austere choral and orchestral works reflected his religious journey from West to East, died on Tuesday. He was 69.
Tavener's publisher, Chester Music, said he died at his home in Child Okeford, southern England.
Born and trained in London, Tavener burst onto the public scene in 1968 with the help of The Beatles and is often remembered for his beautiful “Song for Athene” — reworked as “Songs of Angels” — that caught the public's mood at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.
His wistful, elegant setting of William Blake's poem “The Lamb” (1982) became a staple of Christmas carol services.
“I think there are an awful lot of artists around who are very good at leading us into hell,” Tavener once said. “I would rather someone would show me the way to paradise.”
Tavener was born in 1944 into a music-loving family in north London.
Abandoning an ambition to be a concert pianist, Tavener studied composition at London's Royal Academy of Music.
In the late 1960s, his cantata “The Whale” brought him fame with the help of The Beatles, who released it on their Apple records label.
Tavener said he caught the attention of John Lennon and Yoko Ono at a party by playing a tape of his opera, “Notre Dames des Fleurs.”
Tavener's later, better-known works flowed from his conversion to Orthodox Christianity and his collaboration with Mother Thekla, a Russian emigre and Orthodox nun.
The fruits of their collaboration included “The Protecting Veil” in 1987, “Song for Athene” (1993), “The Apocalypse” (1993), “Fall and Resurrection” (1999), and “We Shall See Him as He Is” (1993).
Tavener, whose work was championed by Prince Charles, received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 for services to music.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- State-owned universities spend millions in race to snare students
- McCutchen, Pirates hitters increasingly in crosshairs
- Starting 9: Pirates missing out on young bat
- Pirates minor league report: Ramirez more mindful while at plate
- Pirates trust eye test when voting for all-stars
- Keystone Markers give insights about towns but have fallen victim to time, theft or traffic accidents
- Woman shot outside Kennywood Park in West Mifflin
- Pittsburgh’s tech startup activity rates last of 40 metro areas in report
- Biertempfel: Loss of All-Star paper ballots a blow to nostalgia
- Locke pitches 8 scoreless innings as Pirates edge Indians
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Indians, July 5, 2015