Monday, January 16, 2006


I bought a CD of John Tavener's music recently. It was only 5 bucks, so it wasn’t a waste. Unfortunately, I am hostile to this music- it feels derivative rather than individual. Now, this may in part a result of the sounds the choir produces, the harmonies are different, but not dramatically.

Its beautiful music, no doubt, but it feels the same, it sounds very similar. Am i wrong in seeing his music as imitation? am i wrong in being hostile to the music because of the blatant similarities? Its a tough question. But i think what annoys me the most is the gimmicky feel of it, that it somehow seems un-authentic or that it even undermines the artistic validity of pärt's works by nature of its imitation. At the same time i am contradicted by my strong sense of what artistic freedom is, and an ironic individualism - that Travener should feel free to compose in any way he feels, if that means imitating pärt or doing something else entirely- and that the artists of many other generations utilized the languages similar to others in order to extend the possibilities of expression. It can be argued that Travener is taking an ancient language and making it new- producing something timeless. I find this to be a hallmark-card argument, but still, there is more here than can be dismissed easily.

This music also sounds similar to the music in Halo, which, oddly enough, has beautiful music that works very well with its "hyper-tech" theme.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A while ago I bought the Naxos Tavener compilation CD becos it has a Bjork/Tavener/Brodsky Quartet collaboration on it. It was cheap, but I also thought I would be getting some interesting music along with it. Sadly, I was mistaken. Thomas Ades likened Tavener's music to 'dog psychology', as in ridiculous I think, so I feel in good company. Although Bjork seems to like him. Must be a nice guy.