In 1980 Peter Pears commissioned a song cycle from the 'holy minimalist' composer John Tavener. Pears suggested the texts should be taken from the writings of the Greek poet Cavafy. But to quote Tavener's biographer Geoffrey Haydon: "Tavener found Cavafy's poetry too blatantly homoerotic. Instead he chose six lyrics about love and death from an anthology of poetry written in Baghdad during the Abbasid dynasty" (1).
On January 20th 2006 the Tallis Scholars gave the world premiere of a new choral work by Sir John Tavener, commissioned by Symphony Hall, Birmingham where the first performance took place. The title of the new work is Tribute to Cavafy, and to quote the Symphony Hall web site it "draws on the writings of the famous Greek poet."
And completely unrelated to that is the following story. Once when Horowitz was scheduled to give a concert in Providence, Rhode Island he asked his friend Rachmaninoff if the acoustics were good there. The answer was "If the cheque is good, the acoustics are good" (2).
Sources: (1) John Tavener - Glimpses of Paradise by Geoffrey Haydon (Gollancz ISBN 575057033)
(2) Horowitz, a biography by Glenn Plaskin (Macdonald ISBN 9780356091792)
Image credit - Portrait of John Tavener from Richardhaughton.com, and I swear I didn't use Paint Shop Pro.
Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
Image owners - if you do not want your picture used in this article please contact me and it will be removed. If bandwidth is a problem with your permission I will host your image.
If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Big Brother is paying you