Icons in Sound: A Comparison of the Music of Sir John Tavener and the Iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Dr. Dwight Thomas
This paper will explore the concept of creating icons in sound by contrasting and comparing icons and the discipline of iconography with Tavener’s music and his creative process. Although there are ways in which Tavener’s music—and music in general—cannot achieve exactly what is achieved in the icon, there are some fundamental characteristics of iconography that Tavener has successfully incorporated into his compositional process. An examination of the points of contrast—the aspects of the icon that cannot be translated into music—will help to clarify the unique place and importance of the icon in the life of the Church, particularly with respect to the doctrine of the Incarnation. And drawing out the points of commonality—how Tavener has successfully applied aspects of iconography to his composing—will help to clarify the meaning of sacred art in general in the Orthodox Tradition.
Graybill, Philip P., "Icons in Sound: A Comparison of the Music of Sir John Tavener and the Iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church" (2009). Honors Projects and Presentations: Undergraduate. 7.