Saturday, December 28, 2013

End of the year loose ends. . .

At the end of a calendar year, one of the things that impresses me most is the list of those who died in the year past.  It always includes individuals whose passing I had not noted at the time of their death.  It seems always to surprise me who departed this life without much fanfare.  It is the end of the year and now I realize that a composer died November 12,  a man whose work I have found always interesting though not always easy.  That would be John Tavener. 

Most of his work is religious in nature and he had a famous conversion to Orthodoxy which he insisted was genuine even though he searched outside its sphere for musical ideas.  That insistence was recorded in an interview only days before his death so I believe it is credible.  It is hard to listen to his work without being drawn into its spiritual depth -- often by its silence as well as its sound.

One such piece is The Protecting Veil.

Another, far more popular due to its use in the funeral of Princess Diana, is the Song for Athene.

But my all time favorite is this version of William Blake's The Lamb for unaccompanied SATB choir.  Here it is sung at King's College at Christmas -- its usual season for usage.


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