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John Tavener

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Are any of his works' used other than for entertainment?
Have you even heard of him?
He is an English covert to the greek orthodox church.
What do you think of his music?
 

Pravoslavbob

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I think he's a very important composer. I don't think any of his work is used liturgically, but I could be wrong. I 'm sure that a music specialist could clear me up on this. The fact is, much of his work would have to be adapted before it could be sung by a choir.

Some of his music I like quite a bit, wheras other compostitions, while I will acknowledge them as important, don't interest me so much.

I think he's a great witness for Orthodoxy in England, since he is so highly regarded as a composer.

You said that he became Greek Orthodox. I was under the impression that he was in a Russian jurisdiction, but I'm sure that I could be wrong.

 

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I like Tavener's music, but it is difficult to listen to in the car (because it often has quiet moments in it). Tavener himself left the Orthodox church a couple of years ago. It has been talked about "ad nausem" on other web sites. His music is not used Liturgically.

Basil

 

Pravoslavbob

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BasilCan said:
I like Tavener's music, but it is difficult to listen to in the car (because it often has quiet moments in it). Tavener himself left the Orthodox church a couple of years ago. It has been talked about "ad nausem" on other web sites. His music is not used Liturgically.
Really? That's terrrble! So much for my naive comments about him being a great witness for Orthodoxy!
 

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I read an interview with him not so long ago and he was exploring eastern thought , not eastern Christian thought, but eastern, I think Chinese thought.

Althought I like Tavener, I much prefer Arvo Part - an Orthodox composer from Estonia.
His music is wonderful.

I also like the Polish Catholic composer Henryk Gorecki.

Both Part and Gorecki have a depth that springs from suffering under communism and from being childern during WWII.
 

choirfiend

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Avro Part rocks.

I like Tavener's works, too. THey're definitely not Liturgical, but they are absolutely good music with Orthodox lyrics.
 

augustin717

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The Funeral Ikos could be used liturgically, without any problem, I think, as a Communion Hymn at a funeral Liturgy.
 

CRCulver

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From reports, Tavener has recently become interested in Islam.

In any event, I find all of these "holy minimalist" composers somewhat dull, because I can no longer easily enjoy music that doesn't use at least all twelve tones of the chromatic scale (and ideally microtones). If I listen to earlier traditions of classical music, it's grating on my ears that at least five tones are missing and I start asking myself why the composer left the music in such a crippled state. Liturgical music has its own little niche in my life, but if I'm listening to music at home for enjoyment, it better give me something interesting where I can discover new things every time I listen.

A good example of deeply Orthodox music that embraces complexity and doesn't sound dumbed-down is the work of Sofia Gubaidulina. I think her "Passion and Resurrection according to St John" is the greatest work of Christian piety of our time. The St John's Passion has already been recorded. If you've bought that and enjoy it , send me a blank CD and I'll make you a copy of a radio broadcast of the Easter (Gubaidulina wants them listened to in succession and doesn't permit the Easter on its own).
 

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I was sorry to hear that after two decades Sir John left the Russian Orthodox Church and once again began his spiritual search.  After I googled I discovered that he is on what he describes as a spiritual traveling  and the articles that I read said he is looking a both Islam and Hinduism---quite a change from Orthodox Christianity.  There is some implication that his Orthodox Christianty  spurred his creative juices but that he had of recent time started to lose his creativity---perhaps he is on a journey to regain his Muse not work on his salvation.

Thomas
 

Salpy

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Interesting article:

http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_news.php?id=184&PHPSESSID=571552dec91f5571d50e5db371a404e7
 

Elisha

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Salpy said:
Interesting article:

http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_news.php?id=184&PHPSESSID=571552dec91f5571d50e5db371a404e7
Interesting....but more depressing. He is completely deluded if he thinks he is going to find anything 'good' in Islam.
 

Ebor

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There's a difference between looking to Islam or Hinduism for religious faith and looking at them or other cultures for *musical* inspiration. That's the way I read some of what Sir John said. And there the bit of non-repetition, something from certain parts of 20th century music. I know musicians who work various musical styles into their own works.

That being said, I like some of Tavener, it's OK. But I prefer Alan Hovhaness and Ralph Vaughn-Williams and Howard Shore for more recent classical works.

Ebor
 

Mor Ephrem

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From what I've read, Tavener is a "perennialist" (or something like that anyway). That philosphy holds that all the major "mystical" traditions stem from truth, and are true. But within each are "demoninations" for lack of a better word which are false and heretical. So, for example, Hinduism, Chinese religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are all true. But within Christianity, Protestantism and Catholicism are heretical, and Orthodoxy is true, because Orthodoxy is "mystical" and the others aren't. The same process of distinction applies to the other religions. Try looking up Frithjof Schuon and Ananda Coomaraswamy, who wrote about this.

Tavener's falling out with his spiritual mother was not due to his dabbling with Islam per se, but according to what I've heard, because he began to espouse this teaching even after being warned by her several times, and in the end she told him that the Church considered him a heretic and she had to cut off the relationship.
 

minasoliman

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He seemed to me like a New Age pluralist, like Mor Ephrem seems to have described. In addition, like Ebor described, he has some sort of a, dare I say, lust for musical inspiration that controls him rather than looking for the Truth.

God bless.

Mina
 

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BasilCan said:
Tavener himself left the Orthodox church a couple of years ago.
Basil
I must confess I was very surprised when I read this as I had not heard anything about it. Although I am not a close friend of Mr Tavener I have met him and have a couple of close friends who are close to him. I have spoken to one of these friends who knows Mr Tavener very well and they filled me in on the background of this situation which appears to be surrounded by misrepresentation and misquoting of what Mr Tavener said. I was further assured by this mutual friend that Mr Tavener is still a communicating member of the Orthodox Church who has the liturgy regularly served in his private chapel for his family and any local Orthodox who wish to attend.

Mor Ephrem said:
Tavener's falling out with his spiritual mother... and she had to cut off the relationship.
Personally I would not read too much into this as Mr Tavener is not the only one to find himself in this position over the last few years. There was a point in the mid-90s were all clergy of the Greek Archdiocese of Great Britain were effectively banned from the monastery, I'll leave you to come to your own conclusions.

red deacon
 

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BrotherAidan said:
I much prefer Arvo Part - an Orthodox composer from Estonia.
His music is wonderful.

I also like the Polish Catholic composer Henryk Gorecki.
BrotherAidan,
I thought I was the only one who liked both Arvo Part and Gorecki!
Arvo Part's Te Deum and Gorecki's Beatus Vir are among my favorite works of music.
 

Ebor

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minasoliman said:
He seemed to me like a New Age pluralist, like Mor Ephrem seems to have described.  In addition, like Ebor described, he has some sort of a, dare I say, lust for musical inspiration that controls him rather than looking for the Truth.
No disrespect is intended here, Mina, but your phrase "lust for musical inspiration" suggests to me that you are not a composer or song maker. Why would you call it "lust"? Do you know or have met Sir John Tavener that you think "lust" is the right word? Have you ever been with musicians who write music and how they may draw from different strands to make their own? Why would drawing from other world musics be counter to "looking for the Truth"?

Ebor
 

Ebor

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Red Deacon,

Thank you for the information.

It seems to be often the case that taking a bit out of context leads to wildly inaccurate interpretations.

Ebor
 

minasoliman

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Dear Ebor,

My choice of words simply mean that he allows music to control him. That's what I feel about him.

While I am not a composer, and correct me if I'm wrong, I do feel than any material thing out there may help and at the same time may hurt anyone, music included. Aren't we after all talking about the same Tavener who converted to Islam just for its music?

God bless.

Mina
 

Ebor

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minasoliman said:
Dear Ebor,

My choice of words simply mean that he allows music to control him.  That's what I feel about him.
That's what you *feel*. How do you *know* that Sir John "allows music to control him"? That is your subjective idea that may not, in fact, be true. As to "control" he is a composer. Making/writing music is what he does. I submit that it could be looked on as God gave him a talent for music. Do you have any field in which you feel drawn to create things? A hobby or calling? Do you think that this "controls" you?

While I am not a composer, and correct me if I'm wrong, I do feel than any material thing out there may help and at the same time may hurt anyone, music included.  Aren't we after all talking about the same Tavener who converted to Islam just for its music?
There is no indication that Sir John "converted" to Islam. For someone who creates things like music or art or books to say that they "turned to" something usually means that they are finding material or ideas there. "Red Deacon" has posted above that Sir John is still EO. This seems to come what what RD wrote of misinterpretations and not understanding what people say.

Ebor
 

minasoliman

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Forgive me.

You are right. I have misjudged, and I should simply mind my own business.

God bless.

Mina
 

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We should turn this into a "I like Arvo Part and Henryk Gorecki better anyway" thread.

Park and Gorecki are both pretty mainstream right now, so it shouldn't be too surprising that folks here (especially here) like their works. I think minimalism, and specifically Christian (if it can be called that) minimalism, was a natural reaction to some other musical directions of the 20th Century.

As far as using the music liturgically, that's not what Part generally does. I don't think liturgical music does well in the concert hall, which is why so many performances of liturgical works by Palestrina, Byrd, etc. are in churches. Orthodox music, imho, fails outside a liturgical setting. The same is true of non-liturgical or pseudo-liturgical music in a liturgical (Orthodox) setting.

I enjoy the fact that I can generally listen to Arvo Part's works without being assaulted.
 

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Red Deacon said:
I must confess I was very surprised when I read this as I had not heard anything about it.  Although I am not a close friend of Mr Tavener I have met him and have a couple of close friends who are close to him.  I have spoken to one of these friends who knows Mr Tavener very well and they filled me in on the background of this situation which appears to be surrounded by misrepresentation and misquoting of what Mr Tavener said.  I was further assured by this mutual friend that Mr Tavener is still a communicating member of the Orthodox Church who has the liturgy regularly served in his private chapel for his family and any local Orthodox who wish to attend.

Personally I would not read too much into this as Mr Tavener is not the only one to find himself in this position over the last few years.  There was a point in the mid-90s were all clergy of the Greek Archdiocese of Great Britain were effectively banned from the monastery, I'll leave you to come to your own conclusions.

red deacon
banned from what monastery?
Why?
 

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The Wolf said:
banned from what monastery?
Why?
Mother Thekla is the Abbess of the monastery of the Dormition at Whitby.

The reason for the why is a little complicated and it would take up a lot of room to explain the full background to the situation; however, at the time in question the monastery was in the process of moving from the jurisdiction of the Greek archdiocese, the monastery has since moved jurisdictions three more times the last move bringing it back once again under the Greek archdiocese of Great Britain, confused, don't worry, so is everybody else in Britain.
 

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Well, CarpathoRussian and Cizinec and I seem to agree regarding Part and Gorecki.

Glad to hear, however, from Red Deacon that Tavener is still in the fold.
 
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