Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Great Loss

Image of John Tavener
I have just heard the news that the English composer, Sir John Tavener has died: may the Lord have mercy on his soul.   What a great loss to music!  He was 69, but was ill for a time and had suffered from various illnesses throughout his life, in particular Marfan Syndrome.   
Tavener, originally a Presbyterian, converted to Russian Orthodoxy in 1977 and since then his music was influenced by the great Eastern Orthodox tradition.  One of his most famous, and finest works is The Protecting Veil, a cello concerto written in honour of Our Lady.  My own introduction to Tavener was his motet The Lamb, a setting of William Blake's poem which is devastatingly simple and beautiful. 
Taverner was one of the "holy minimalists" with Henryk Gorecki and Arvo Part, and he has helped the revitalisation of Christian music and culture in a secular world.  He will be remembered, I believe, as one of Britain's greatest composers.  Please say a prayer for him this evening.
Christ our eternal King and God, You have destroyed death and the devil by Your Cross and have restored man to life by Your Resurrection; give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your servant John who has fallen asleep, in Your Kingdom, where there is no pain, sorrow or suffering. In Your goodness and love for all men, pardon all the sins he has committed in thought word or deed, for there is no man or woman who lives and sins not, You only are without sin. 
For You are the Resurrection, the Life, and Repose of Your servant John, departed this life, O Christ our God; and to You do we send up glory with Your Eternal Father and Your All-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Russian Orthodox Prayer for the Dead
In his memory:  The Lamb 

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