Re: [INDOLOGY] Tavener's Flood of Beauty (Saundaryalaharī)

Hartmut Buescher buescherhartmut at
Wed Oct 1 08:52:38 UTC 2014

Dear Dominik,

thank you, indeed, for providing a link to the premiere performance of the
last major work
by the late Sir John Tavener: a modern classical setting of  “Śaṅkara's
Very interesting!

However, given this is a scholarly list, it may perhaps be necessary to be
slightly more
careful with reproducing ideologically biased ascriptions of authorship.
As well-known, the name of the Advaita philosopher “Śaṅkara” has
served as a hook for innumerable such ascriptions to hang on.

Needless to particularly emphasize, there is a long historical gap between
the times of the Advaita author and the origin of the ŚrīVidyā tradition to
the Saundaryalaharī pertains.

Best wishes,

Hartmut Buescher

2014-10-01 8:38 GMT+02:00 Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at>:

> Dear colleagues,
> The last major work by the late Sir John Tavener
> <>, the British composer, was a
> modern classical setting of Śaṅkara's *Saundaryalaharī.*  It received its
> premiere on Sunday last, at the Barbican in London
> <>.  Sir John
> worked with W. Norman Brown's text and translation (Harvard, 1958).
> It was broadcast live on radio, and can be heard on BBC Radio 3's website
> for a few more days:
> (Listeners outside the UK may need a VPN connection to a computer inside
> the UK.)
> One listener who attended the premiere, said,
> It was indeed an amazing flood, a wash of sound and texture, and indeed
> text.  In the hall itself, I was rather tense and aware that it might seem
> quite long, but after it was over, there was a sense that it could easily
> have been enjoyed for longer, and the radio broadcast is very easy to
> appreciate.
> The translation of the text (there was so much!) was put on big screens,
> but I am not sure that really helped - that ancient Sanskrit has a
> different flavour all together.  Of course that was interesting in itself,
> but overall, the music was the embodiment (as it were) of the text, so the
> specific words weren't necessarily needed.
> It was a flood, and it was beautiful.
> Another performance is being planned for Singapore next year.
> Best,
> Dominik Wujastyk
> _______________________________________________
> INDOLOGY mailing list

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