Music, Religious Studies

Call for papers: The Spirituality of the Music of John Tavener

Possible Book Contribution to the Peter Lang book series on Music and Spirituality

Call for Chapters: Chief Editor (and series editor) The Rev Professor June Boyce-Tillman. Submissions will be considered by an international peer review panel.

Following a number of successful books in the Peter Lang book series on Music and Spirituality, The Rev Professor June Boyce-Tillman invites scholars, musicians, theologians and Christian ministers to contribute proposals for chapters, for further details please see the Call below or here.

The music of John Tavener (1944 – 2013) has brought alive spirituality for many people. His own distinctive spirituality is the essence of his understanding of the nature and role of music. His spirituality is rooted firmly in the Christian tradition but during his lifetime he drew on a variety of spiritual traditions. His fundamental view of music was that it is concerned with heart’s ease. He challenged an increasingly secularized cultural context including its view of the place and role of music. This anthology is designed to look at the issue of Sir John’s spirituality through various lenses and from different perspectives.

Following a number of successful books in this series, the editor invites scholars, musicians, theologians, medical practitioners, informed listeners and practitioners in religious traditions to contribute proposals for chapters and shorter meditations that might address the questions listed below or any other areas deemed relevant to this study. These can include case study material, empirical studies, philosophical, theological and theoretical contributions and accounts from lived experience of spirituality generated by Sir John’s music. These can include descriptions of particular projects or events, which should be addressed from a critical standpoint. Chapters will be accepted for the book on the basis of an extended abstract submission (900 words). They may take a variety of forms including that of a sermon or a meditation. Chapters (which in the end will be 4,500-6,000 words in length) or meditations (around 1,000 words) may address (though are by no means limited to) the following questions:

What role, if any, does spirituality play in your experience of John Tavener’s music?
Is Tavener’s spirituality one that is uncoupled from religion?
How did John Tavener see ‘hearts ease’ in relation to music?
How does spirituality inform the ways Tavener’s music is constructed?
How does spirituality inform the ways Tavener’s music is performed?
What spiritual traditions did John Tavener draw on for his compositions?
How did Orthodox chanting inform Tavener’s musical practice?
How did Orthodox liturgy inform Tavener’s musical practice?
What role does spiritual music play in John Tavener’s life pattern?
How did Tavener see the relationship between music and liturgy?
How did Tavener see the relationship between music and the concert hall?
How did Tavener’s spirituality enable him to relate to the surrounding musical culture?
How did critics see the presence of the spiritual in Tavener’s music?
What is the role of the listening to Tavener’s music in your wellbeing?
How far was spirituality part of Tavener’s process of composing?
What is the relationship between Tavener’s spiritual wellbeing and music
How did Tavener’s training as a musician influence his spirituality?
What place has music of John Tavener in the listening life of a person who is
recovering from ill-health?
What changes do we see in Tavener’s musical style that are related to
spiritual ideas?
Was Tavener’s view of the spirituality pf music exclusive or inclusive
especially in areas such as gender, race and musical experience and
How are icons related in John Tavener’s spirituality?
Who were the spiritual figures who influenced Tavener?
What are the connections between the aesthetic experience and the spiritual
experience in Tavener’s music?
What is role of the visionary experience in Tavener’s music?
What values underpin Tavener’s spirituality?

Important deadlines and dates:
June 30th, 2018 Submission of an extended abstract (900 words) outlining the proposed chapter
August 30th, 2018 Decisions on chosen chapters
September 30th, 2019 Submission of full chapter draft
November 30th, 2019 Submission of revised chapter
January 2019 Submission of final chapter
May 30th 2019 Anticipated publication by Peter Lang, if the proposal is accepted

All submissions and enquiries should be directed to:

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