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The Music of Silence

John Tavener
Date Published
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John Tavener’s career has always been in the public eye. In the 1960s his music appeared on The Beatles’ Apple label, and he was one of the youngest composers to be commissioned by the Royal Opera House. The Protecting Veil – the sensation of the 1989 Proms and one of the best-selling classical recordings of all time – made Tavener a household name and his Song for Athene was heard by millions around the world when it was played at Princess Diana’s funeral. Yet behind this glittering façade is a spiritual dimension, which became explicit after Tavener was received into the Russian Orthodox Church in 1977. With his wide intellectual curiosity and searching musical imagination it can come as no surprise that he possesses a profound and far-reaching musical ‘philosophy’.

The Music of Silence gives voice to this philosophy. Based on extensive conversations in his Greek island retreat between the composer and his close friend Brian Keeble, it covers the influences of his formative years, the technical aspects of his composition, his attitude and often controversial reactions to the music of his contemporaries, his love of the landscape and ethos of Greece, and the sacred and religious underpinning of his faith.

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