Top composer Tavener turns to Islam for inspiration
The Orthodox faith inspired him for more than 25 years, but after a rift with his spiritual adviser, the composer has rejected its 'tyranny' in a major work based on the Koran.
Anthony Barnes reports
17 October 2004
Sir John Tavener, the classical composer whose life and works have been guided by the principles of the Orthodox Church for more than two decades, has now turned to Islam for inspiration.
In 1997 his work found fame around the world when it was played at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. The piece, Song for Athene, was written to the rules of the Orthodox Church, as almost all his work had been since he converted to the faith in 1977.
But Sir John says that working to these principles - using set melodic formulas - became a "tyranny" and that he no longer wishes to stick to a particular system. He attends church less regularly than in the past and finds it "trying" to deal with people who are overly Orthodox.
Last year Sir John had a falling-out with his spiritual muse, Mother Thekla, a Russian abbess who lives in a North Yorkshire monastery and whom he used to phone daily. She also provided the words to some of his works.
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