From Russia with love

Igor Stravinsky greets Mistlav Rostropvich at the Royal Academy of Music, London in June 1964. Stravinsky was in England to conduct his Symphony of Psalms and Variations on the Bach Chorale Von Himmel Hoch da komm' ich her at the English Bach Festival in Oxford, and rehearsals were held at the Royal Academy. Mrs Stravinsky has her back to the camera, while the figure in the background extreme upper-left is the 20 year old John Tavener. Stravinsky's early serial composition Canticum Sacrum was a major influence on the young Tavener. All the Stravinsky works mentioned in this post are in the complete Stravinsky box at a crazy price.

Photo and background from Geoffrey Haydon's excellent John Tavener - Glimpses of Paradise (Gollancz ISBN0575057033). It was published in 1995 and is now out of print, but is well worth seeking out. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


Pliable said…
Email received:

Good Lord! John Tavener almost looks like a Fifth Beatle here!

David Cavlovic
Pliable said…
David, a very prescient comment.

The figure to John Tavener's right is his brother, Roger, who was a member of the Beatle's circle, and friendly with Ringo Starr in particular.

It was Roger who arranged for John Tavener's The Whale to be recorded on the Beatle's Apple label in 1970. Surprisingly, the recording, with David Atherton and the London Sinfonietta, is no longer available. But if you have a copy the distorted voice shouting 'and cause suffocation' is Ringo Starr's.
pathogan said…
Don't you find Tavener a bit,uhm,pretentious?All those pronouncements on Western music[I reckon,he exempts his own from the chaff,as it were]and his music is so damned pedestrian ,for all the sturm and drang.Arvo Part without the fat and calories and flavor...
Pliable said…
David, I should also have added that Roger Tavener sponsored the premiere recording of his brother's The Protecting Veil by Stephen Isserlis to the tune of £10,000 (a very considerable sum in 1989), as did the Arts Council.

Virgin considered that The Protecting Veil was not commercial, and would not record it without sponsorship. The disc went on to become one of their best-sellers ever, and generated a lot of money for them. It is not known if Virgin paid the sponsors back.

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