British composer John Tavener, whose austere choral and orchestral works reflected his religious journey from West to East, died Tuesday. He was 69. Tavener’s publisher, Chester Music, said he died at his home in Child Okeford, southern England.
Born and trained in London, Tavener burst onto the public scene in 1968 with the help of The Beatles and is often remembered for his beautiful “Song for Athene” — reworked as “Songs of Angels” — that caught the public’s mood at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.
His wistful, elegant setting of William Blake’s poem “The Lamb” (1982) became a staple of Christmas carol services.
“I think there are an awful lot of artists around who are very good at leading us into hell,” Tavener once said. “I would rather someone would show me the way to paradise.”
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