Tavener drove a Rolls-Royce, enjoyed resting in his deckchair on a summer afternoon and meditating, and was even known to enjoy playing badminton on his garden lawn at midnight. A playboy who converted to the Orthodox Church, Tavener was concerned with eternal, spiritual ‘truth', or seeking of the truth - a quest which brought the composer to an understanding of and fascination with all religions.
The seven-part Ikon of Light is the main work to be featured on the CD - the Tallis Scholars bringing a piercing, bell-like beauty to Tavener's visions:
Come, true light. Come, life eternal. Come, hidden mystery. Come, treasure without name. Come, reality beyond all words.
Their perfect diction and ethereal singing also serve Tavener's setting of William Blake's The Lamb, which is the one part of the collection conducted by the composer:
Little lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Gave thee life, and bid thee feed. By the stream and o'er the mead; Gave thee clothing of delight, Softest clothing, woolly, bright; Gave thee such a tender voice, Making all the vales rejoice?
Tavener's music is heavenly, and although works such as The Lamb have a tenderness and Englishness, the composer seems to have made his own tradition of universalism - his works bringing to mind thoughts of religious worship in ancient Greek churches, or isolation and revelation on a mountain-top in Nepal or Tibet. A CD of miracles, and miraculous sounds.