It was an immense pleasure and no small privilege to attend the unveiling ceremony of the newly commissioned sculpture to commemorate the life and work of Sir John Tavener. On Friday 11th November, a packed Winchester Cathedral listened to extracts from the Veil of the Temple, sung by Patricia Rozario. Sir John’s Evensong settings were performed by the Cathedral Choir under Andy Lumsden and the congregation participated in chants and responses throughout the service.
A smaller gathering continued after the service to the act of dedication including prayers led by Metropolitan Kalistos at the Federov icons before the sculpture itself was unveiled. Created by Angela Conner, the sculpture is fashioned in glass and represents the fluidity of art and life. If you want to find it, walk past the chancel on the south side and look to the wall on your right.
Lady Tavener gave a moving dedication as the sculpture was unveiled. Several composers were present including Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music and John Rutter, an alumnus with Tavener of Highgate School and a lifelong friend.
The evening concluded with a sublime performance by Andrew Watts and Fretwork of Tavener’s Nipson, commissioned by the BBC in 1998.
The evening celebrations had been preceded by a Symposium on Sir John’s music at Winchester University, led by ISM member Professor June Boyce-Tillman.
As a line from the Veil of the Temple says, ‘You struck fire in my heart and I have been consumed!’ Such is the power of music.