30th April 2014 IGRC Surrey University


MARCH 30th 2014

I will be giving a lecture/recital on John Tavener's Chant for solo guitar at the launch of the International Guitar Reseasch Centre at Surrey University on the weekend of March 29th & 30th 2014. It will be an exciting weekend full of concerts, recitals, lectures, talks and seminars. 

Guests include John Williams, Xuefei Yang, The Amadeus Duo,

Bridget Mermikides, Declan Zapala & Michael Partington.

follow this link for full details:

International Guitar Research Centre Launch

Lecture/recital by Samantha Muir

The Journey Towards Silence:

Chant by John Tavener



John Tavener: favoured composer of celebrities, pop icons and royals; loved by the general public; often derided by the musical establishment as a “holy minimalist”. The recent death of one of our most successful and celebrated composers has not quelled the controversy but few can deny John Tavener had a genius for connecting with his audience. Why then has Tavener’s one piece for solo guitar slipped into obscurity? With just a handful of recordings, and only one this century, a score that is listed as special edition and omission from leading exam syllabuses, Chant is rarely heard. Through my own performance, audio samples and analysis of the score I will offer a re-evaluation of Chant. As guitar composers produce works of ever greater technical and musical complexity I will argue that Chant - an evocation of the feminine with its simple, uncluttered beauty - is even more poignant today. Audio samples will include Simon James’ world premier performance at Wigmore Hall in 1985, and Eleftheria Kotzia’s world premier recording in 1994. I will examine the influence of the ancient Byzantine hymn Phos Hilaron and discuss the context of Chant within Tavener’s other works. Tavener’s music has been described as uplifting, sublime, ethereal, the umbilical which connects heaven and earth. In our complex, tumultuous world there is a very real need for peace, for stillness, for unity. I propose a new understanding and appreciation of this unique work. Chant should not be abandoned to silence. It should be the journey towards silence. 

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