John Tavener

British composer Sir John Kenneth Tavener has died today at his home in Child Okeford, Dorset, aged 69. He is  known for his huge output of religious music. Tavener was born on 28 January 1944 in Wembley, London, and claimed to be a direct descendant of the 16th-century composer John Taverner. Tavener’s first success was his dramatic cantata ‘The Whale’, based on the Old Testament story of Jonah in 1968. Other major works are ‘The Protecting Veil’ and ‘The Veil of the Temple’. In 1977, he joined the Russian Orthodox Church. Orthodox traditions became a major influence on his work. He was particularly drawn to its mysticism.

Tavener was still an active composer. Next Friday the premiere of his ‘Three Shakespeare Sonnets ’twill take place in Shakespeare’s own Parish Church, Southwark Cathedral, in London. The South Iceland Chamber Choir is singing this work.

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