John Tavener

The composer John Tavener (1944-2013) began his work under the sign of the avant-garde. However, he underwent a profound stylistic transformation in the course of his life. It is connected to his most important creative impulse, a deep religiousness. This was already pronounced from the beginning and moved within the framework of the Western Christian denominations. With Tavener's turn to the mystical tradition of the Orthodox Eastern Church in the course of the 1970s, he increasingly integrated consonant and tonal stylistic elements. He also worked on simplifying his musical language. This led to works in which he explored the sensual content of traditional sounds. His compositions in this phase can be described as post- or neotonal. In addition, there are numerous pieces written in a completely different way, collage-like compositions full of breaks and inner tensions, working with stylistic quotations and elements of avant-garde music. John Tavener had to go through several serious health crises. The confrontation with death as a constantly present theme of his creative work is deeply anchored in his life story. With his often spontaneously accessible music, Tavener has also reached an extraordinarily large audience outside the established concert scene, especially through film scores, for example to The Tree of Life by Terence Malick, and through the performance of Song for Athena as part of Princess Diana's funeral in 1997. His composition The Hidden Face is the basis for the choreography by Nicolas Paul, which was performed with the Bayerisches Staatsballett as part of the Sphären series in June 2023.