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Heart's Ease

Spirituality in the Music of John Tavener


Edited By June Boyce-Tillman and Anne-Marie Forbes

Our age owes Sir John Tavener deep gratitude. His works cross both cultural and disciplinary boundaries. He illustrated how to deal with intense suffering and felt deeply for the suffering of the world. He stands as an icon representing a view of artistic expression as a way of generating hope and transcendence.

In Tavener’s thinking, spirituality was closely tied to wellbeing and healing and this book considers the spiritual encounters that brought him ‘heart’s ease’ and the communication of that experience to performers and listeners through his composition. The contributors to this book include scholars, musicians, theologians, medical practitioners, informed listeners and practitioners in religious traditions. It includes case study material, empirical studies, philosophical, theological and theoretical contributions along with accounts from lived experience of the spirituality generated by Tavener’s music. This is set in the context of a world that sees spirituality sometimes coupled and sometimes uncoupled from religion.

The pattern of the book is an alternation between interludes and chapters illuminating different facets of the crystal of Tavener’s creative work and the spirituality and ‘heart’s ease’ it can offer.

Table of contents