John Tavener: Alchemy of the Ancient and the Modern

By Bradley Bambarger <1999>

For someone convinced that secular humanism is the acme of Western culture, the music of John Tavener can be a tough sell. In theory, the neo-medievalisms of his work, the ritual and repetition aimed to glorify the Russian Orthodox Church, have the potential to cloy as much as enchant. The contradictions in the man also mystify: ethereal devotion…