On meeting John Tavener

I don´t think I could say I ´met´ John Tavener, but I spent some time with him when I attended a private talk he gave on ´music and the psyche´ in London in the mid 90s. What was striking was his gangly, fragile physical frame - an ´ascetic´ image indeed but created by Marfans. His dedication to music being a vehicle for the ´Spiritual´ was paramount. I first came across him from purchasing an LP featuring ´Ikon of Light´, with the unusual image of him sitting in a deckchair on a Greek beach. I was immediately captivated by the sound in his music, and very drawn to his use of the ´eternal´ note, which has always resonated with me too.

He came across as being shy although that might have been my misperception, so I didn´t approach him for a private conversation, even though I stood quietly next to him for a while at teatime. I wish I had spoken with him now. He was one of a new breed of composers to openly express the spiritual and melody, daring at the time, but mirrored exactly my purpose in becoming a composer. At this time in his life he felt there was only ´one way´ in music - (Orthodox), and although this is a limiting view, perhaps it was necessary for him at this time to utterly be immersed in this to get to the heart of being a vehicle of expression for it. His music is certainly conveying an aspect of the divine and has taken a central place in the changes that occurred in late 20th century music.
That day it was also a privilege to hear him play to us the newly written "Song for Athene", before it was used at Diana´s funeral (which firmly placed him in the history books).
Britain is fortunate to have him as one of our great composers, expressing a new and emerging, yet timeless consciousness from our shores, providing a legacy of truly beautiful and breathtaking music for the world. My favourite works are "The Call", which mysteriously is very hard to locate, but worth searching out (I heard a wonderful performance of it at the Gloucester Three Choirs Festival) and "The Lamb", a great public favourite. 
He was a big influence and help in my journey of composing for which I am very grateful, so perhaps in one sense I did ´meet´ him and in a realm of ´silence´ that maybe, somehow, makes it more poetic. 
I´m sure he´ll be very at home in the heavens where his music hailed from and where the angels will be giving him a very warm welcome.