Saturday, 28 July 2007

Ninety-nine names of Allah sung in church

[...] Tavener, a religious pluralist wanting to create unity across religious boundaries, seems to have reached the perfect equilibrium in bringing together different religions.
This piece was commissioned by the Prince of Wales, the future head of the Anglican Church of England, performed at the chief Catholic Church in the country, was about the Qur`anically inspired Names of Allah, and its structure had its basis in Hindu philosophy. “This is the most important work that I have ever written,” Tavener said. “It is a kind of ‘summation’ of all that I have tried to do over the past 60 years. If the work contributes towards healing a shattered world, then this is of great importance.”
However, the audience of the première consisted almost solely of the ‘typical’ crowd, with very few Muslims or Hindus making the effort to attend. The general reaction amongst the Muslim community, however, was very positive, with Leicester-based Shaykh Imam Ibrahim Mogra, for example, welcoming this work on the ninety-nine Names of Allah being “put to music because they are so wonderfully emotive. When you hear the words sung, it creates a sense of ecstasy, a buzz” according to The Independent.
There was not unanimous approval of Tavener’s work with a handful of protestors gathered outside the Cathedral. They were unhappy that this performance, based on an Islamic understanding of God, was allowed in a Christian place of worship and had thus lobbied strongly to get the concert cancelled. However, the organisers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra stood strong in the face of this protest, and the performance was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Read more

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