John Tavener

I’d heard her voice... it was quite a raw, primordial sound, and I was very attracted to this sound. I thought of the ejaculatory prayer called the "Jesus Prayer" – "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me" – and I set it in three languages : in Coptic, in English, and in Greek. I thought the way she sang it was quite wonderful, and it couldn’t possibly be sung by anybody else but her, or someone with a voice very, very similar to hers. It had nothing of a western-trained voice about it. In fact, it wasn’t trained at all, and this is why I liked it so much, because... it had a savage quality, an untamed quality. These are qualities that I like... I liked the simplicity of her, I liked the spontaneity of her, and I liked the result that came forth in Prayer of the Heart., february 2004