British composer John Tavener dead at 69

LONDON- British composer John Tavener, whose spiritually inspired music was performed at the funeral of Princess Diana, has died at the age of 69, his publisher said Tuesday.
Tavener's classical compositions drew heavily on religious themes informed by his adopted Russian Orthodox faith and interest in mysticism.

He was best known for works including "The Whale", which was released in the late 1960s by The Beatles' record label Apple.
In 1997 his sombre work "Song for Athene" was performed as Diana's coffin was being carried out from her funeral at London's Westminster Abbey after her death in a car crash in Paris.
Tavener died "peacefully at home" in Dorset, southwest England, on Tuesday, said James Rushton, the managing director of his publisher Chester Music.
"John Tavener was one of the unique and most inspired voices in music of the last 50 years," Rushton said, adding that he was a "man of strong beliefs."
"His large body of work -- dramatic, immediate, haunting, remaining long in the memory of all who have heard it, and always identifiably his -- is one of the most significant contributions to classical music in our times."
A spokesman from Prince Charles' Clarence House office said the royal "was saddened to hear of the death of John Tavener." He is believed to be Charles' favourite composer.
Cellist Steven Isserlis, said Tavener had been "full of humour, very funny".
"He's unique," Isserlis told BBC Radio 3. "Classical music has fractured into all these completely different languages and voices and he had his own voice. He wasn't writing to be popular -- he was writing the music he had to write."
Tavener forged a long musical career despite a run of ill-health including a stroke in his 30s, heart attacks and suffering from Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder.
He was knighted for services to music in 2000. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Wednesday, November 13th 2013

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