A Tribute to Tavener’s ‘Towards Silence’

Since the Premiere of ‘Towards Silence’ the Medici Quartet were fortunate enough to perform the work in some of the UK’s most beautiful sacred buildings and other great venues.

All of these events attracted large audiences and most were sold out.(including two performances on the same day in Salisbury Cathedral as part of the Festival).

Receiving the prize from The Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford is: producer Rosie Boulton and Paul Robertson.

The Radio 4 programme ‘Hearing Ragas’, which explores the connections between Paul Robertson and Sir John Tavener in ‘Towards Silence’, was awarded the Sandford St Martin Trust Radio Premier Award in recognition of its contributioon to religious braodcasting.

This very special programme can be heard on: Hearing Ragas radio programme

Sir John Tavener’s

‘Towards Silence’

available on Signum Records

(please press the link above for full details)

Recorded in Salisbury Cathedral by;

Medici Quartet
Finzi Quartet
Cavaleri Quartet
Fifth Quadrant

Sir John with Paul Robertson at Salisbury Cathedral


”SACD sound was made for this….It is enormously powerful, by turns lush and spare, with a simultaneous sense of the ritual and the sensual. Tavener has always been a profoundly inspired melodist, and there are joyous moments in this work … A glimpse of eternity.”

                                                                                  International Record Review

‘Sir John Tavener continues to produce some of the most distinctive music in our time… Sweet consonance and febrile dissonance jostle with the hypnotic ringing of a Tibetan temple bowl …

I know of no music tht takes us quite so near the edge of death.”

                                                                                  The Observer



‘The ‘silence’ of the title is that of death, although the music eschews mobidity: its keynote is rather one of otherness and mystery … the effect on the listener is anything but formulaic in this palpably committed premiere recording”

BBC Music Magazine

Towards Silence

‘Towards Silence’ by John Tavener was jointly commissioned by the Rubin Museum, New York and The Music Mind Spirit Trust.

Professor Paul Robertson engaging with young musicians at the
first rehearsal of “Towards Silence”

In it the composer uses both space and sound to explore the nature of consciousness and the tenuous yet vital creative connection that may be experienced near death.

Lasting approximately 35 minutes this powerfully spiritual work was composed for the Medici String Quartet, who through rehearsing and performing together acted as mentors and musical guides to other talented young professional ensembles.

Following initial discussions about the work by Sir John and Paul Robertson (leader of the Medici), both men became critically ill and close to death themselves. The performances therefore had a very particular significance for them both.

The World Premiere took place at the beautiful Rubin Museum, New York on April 23rd 2009 as part of their ‘BrainWave’ series. 3 gifted young US quartets participated alongside the Medici. Click here for the Rubin Museum site.

A break in on the second day of rehearsal.

Kelvingrove Museum: Glasgow