The world of music packed out Westminster Abbey today for a thanksgiving service for the life and work of Sir John Tavener, who passed away on 12th November last year. As you might expect, the event featured many of his compositions. It's an occasion that will linger long in the memory, not least for the extraordinary performances before the service of The HiddenFace by Andrew Watts and Eternity's Sunrise by Patricia Rozario, who performed the work at its première in 1998.

For me, the striking thing about Tavener's music is the way he can start with a simple, mystical line and then broaden it out: when you're least expecting it, the emotion simply gushes through. This is not simple, tonal music, but in Tavener's hands, dissonance creates tension but never ugliness.

To remember the occasion and Tavener's life, here's a short playlist. If you're not familiar with his music, you have treats in store.

Top of the list comes The Lamb, probably his most famous short choral composition, with exquisitely tender use of gentle dissonance. Here's the choir of King's College, Cambridge.

 

Patricia Rozario singing the impossibly mystical Eternity's Sunrise:


 

A non-vocal work: The Protecting Veil, for cello and orcestra

 

Rozario and violinist Andrew Manze in Song of the Angel:

 

The choir of King's College, again, in Song for Athene: