Global Transcendence:
World Sacred Harmony and Chant

Fall 2014

Program Notes

Ata horeita lada'at / Laudate pueri              

Synagogue chant for Simchat Torah / Psalm tone from the Liber usualis

Volgi gli occhi, o madre pia

Alexander Demophon (Venice, fl. c. 1480),

ed. Paul van Nevel

Hear my prayer, O Lord

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Caritas abundat

Karen P. Thomas
Midwest Premiere

Alilo

Georgian Christmas Song, Kakheti region

If ye love me

Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585)

Psalm 51 in Many Forms:

 

from Miserere

Gregorio Allegri (1582 - 1652)
Latin verses

from the Genevan Psalter

Melody: Louis Bourgeois (1510-1559),

harmony: Claude Goudimel (1514-1572)

French Verses

from Miserere

Allegri

Schaffe in mir, Gott

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

German verses

Al tashlicheyni mil’fanecha

Sephardic folk-tune, then polyphony by Allegri,

arr. J. Miller

Hebrew verses

from Miserere

Allegri

INTERMISSION

Eshu O

trad. Ghanaian, arr. Edie Armstrong

Alleluiarion for Pentekoste

trad. Byzantine chant, ed. Ioannis Arvanitis

Gayati Mantra

trad. Hindu, arr. Jonathan Miller

Sanskrit text (Rig Veda)

Dastam Begir

Nikki Manevi, arr. Tom Price

Seven Line Supplication to Guru Rinpoche

Harry Einhorn
encore: O Lux Beatissima Howard Helvey

 

From the Artistic Director

“Truth is One; Sages call It by various names.”
Rig Veda 1.164.46

Sacred music has a power that nothing else possesses. From the Psalms to the Gayatri Mantra, from the Seven Line Supplication to the medieval-Renaissance Italian lauda, each tradition expresses the desire to connect to something beyond the everyday, to have communion with the Divine.  This desire is the source of the program’s title, Global Transcendence.

This concert is an offering from the heart. It is an offering from my heart, from the hearts of our singers and music director, and from the heart of our organization—our staff, board, and volunteers. On this concert, you will hear chant from Africa, India, Eastern and Western Europe, Greece, formerly Soviet Georgia, and other places. You will hear things that have been sung to divine beings for a very long time. You will hear texts and melodies that have given rhythm to the day, symbol to the heart, and meaning to the mind.

Where does all this music come from? Sacred chant has been a bedrock of human culture for millennia, likely much longer than recorded history itself. One recent theory posits that human beings sang before they spoke. In any case, sacred chant is here to stay.

* * * * * * *

As I write these notes in July 2014, I am listening to Anonymous 4. This program is inspired in no small part by them—also by the Hilliard Ensemble, the Tallis Scholars, Chanticleer, Cappella Nova, the Early Music Consort of London, the Huelgas Ensemble, Cappella Romana, and the other giants in the field who have led with their devotion to devotional music and whose glorious sounds have given solace to so many souls.

Anonymous 4 tapped into something extremely powerful when they took the world by storm. I know those women personally, and I rejoice at their success. My joy comes from the joy that they so clearly feel and share when they immerse themselves in the sacred chant and polyphony that are their specialty. Hearing them sing in live performance, as far back as 1988, was unforgettable for me, and I hope that you’ve had that experience too.


* * * * * * *

I have been listening to sacred music my whole life. Still, this concert is not simply a product of listening to recordings of sacred music for 40 years. There is a special power in sacred music, and it does not simply happen by looking at a page; for its full effect to take hold, one has to feel it in the bones and sinews, in the voice and in the ears, on the surface of the skin and in the heart. 

There are living, breathing people who have revealed to me the glories of various traditions of sacred music, mentors whose patience and zeal have taken root in me as well. Christopher Moore, Joe Brewer, Richard Proulx, Howard Mayer Brown, Lena McLin, Max Janowski, Richard Lowell Childress, Anne Heider, J. Michael Thompson, and many others have opened the doors of repertoire and tradition to me. In each case I have experienced a sort of transmission of the magic (yes, we indeed can call it that) of each tradition’s power).

Our singers and directors each likewise have been touched by the people who were their own mentors, teachers, and sources of inspiration. Several of the tunes on this program were brought by colleagues. Emily suggested the Baha’i song, Joe the Georgian one; Karen P. Thomas told me about her new Caritas abundant a few days before its world premiere, and I jumped on it. John William Trotter and I, along with our intrepid music research intern Elisabeth Wismer, created the patchwork quilt that is our musical reading of Psalm 51, the great penitential psalm.

* * * * * * *

My parents met while studying Hinduism and meditation in Boston. Swami Akhilananda, my parents’ teacher and one of the pioneering bridge-builders between Eastern and Western religion and psychology, had posted on the wall of the Boston Vedanta Society a saying from the Rig Veda, a sacred Sanskrit text, which began: “Truth is One; Sages call It by various names.” My parents taught me this idea in my earliest years, and it remains a birthright of sorts for me. The various names for Truth also have various musical settings in which they are uttered. In the musical manifestation of every tradition there is a unique energetic flavor, which stems from a combination of the texts and language, the musical idioms, and something else that we might call a fundamental tone. I don’t mean a pitch per se, but I do mean that there is in each ritual celebration a vibration of sorts that is palpable. I feel a different vibration in a Kabbalat Shabbat service than in an Episcopal Evensong service, and it’s a different experience singing “Ubi caritas” Taizé-style than the Gayatri mantra; and of course the incredible ritual of Yom Kippur has a distinct vibration all its own (and even its own melodic formula for the final service). This is all good. We need all of them, just as we need the angels and saints and holy people of this and past and future ages and the 36 hidden tzaddikim who hold the world together.

As citizens of an increasingly connected world, we are now in the remarkable position of being able to sample many such vibrations in a single musical gathering. It is our purpose today to immerse ourselves and you in the sound- and spirit-world of each. We therefore offer you music from the world’s great sacred traditions in the spirit of peace and openheartedness, in the hope that we may serve some small part in the effort to, as the Buddhists say, “save all beings from suffering.” If you simply experience a mildly interesting and politically correct sampler of global sacred-music traditions, we will have failed in our purpose. What we—what I—want for you is something much richer, much more profound. I invite you to allow for the possibility that you could actually be changed by this concert, that something could take hold for you here, that a seed will be planted in the soil of your soul, the growth of which will have a noticeable difference in the way you experience daily living. I make this rather unusual invitation because I myself have been changed by the music on this concert, in ways I had not expected when I first began to put it together.

I didn’t know, when we scheduled this concert in 2013, that there would be so many new eruptions of conflict between peoples and nations surrounding this program in late 2014. Bombs and rockets and tanks have been deployed in Ukraine, Nigeria, Israel, Gaza, and elsewhere. Planes are down, kids are crossing borders alone, innocents are being slaughtered, and our city and world are rocked by violence daily. Rather than despair, I remain convinced that the way to peace on earth is to cultivate peace in every human heart; that latter condition is a tall order, but all of us, and each of us, had better get to work. It’s not going to happen unless we do it. I also remain convinced that singing is one way among many that peace can come to the heart—one heart at a time, which, again, is the only way that peace works. As Zen Master Seung Sahn might have said, when your mind is clear, you are like a clear mirror; when there is wind, you are the wind; when there is a song, you are the song. Not a bad thing at all.

* * * * * * *

By way of saying “thanks,” I’m clear that this program would not exist in this way if I hadn’t been influenced by the work of Ken Wilber. I first learned of Ken from Jay Deacon, the brilliant minister who was my staff colleague and supervisor when I was music director at Unity Temple. Although Ken and I have never met in this lifetime, his wideness of perspective has encouraged me to keep stretching personally. In particular, Ken’s thought and spirit gave me in recent years a sort of permission that I had not felt before, namely that it would be not only appropriate but also wonderful to go in the direction of a deeper and wider spiritual life and practice, something that had lurked in the back of my mind but had never really taken root or wing in the ways that I had hoped could be possible.

There is a belief, which may seem familiar to educated Western people, perhaps you among them, that a thinking person cannot honor his or her religious impulses or leanings without compromising intellectual integrity. By tracing the history of this dichotomy, Ken blew it apart. He convinced me that it’s no longer necessary to hold that dichotomy as a belief— which is a big deal. As John Trotter notes below, that dichotomy in itself has become a sort of religion of the highly educated, so ingrained that dissenters from it are often ridiculed. In much the same vein, my grandfather Benjamin Miller, the socialist of blessed memory, once laid out a Passover Seder and said to his guests, “Well, you know, if this were a real Seder, we would do it like this….” and proceeded to say some of the prayers. With all respect to him, I wish Grandpa would have felt comfortable dropping the hedging in his preface and could have just gotten on with praying, but his time in history did not allow it. Ours does. Lucky for us.

Over many decades, Ken Wilber has boldly forged a way toward a sophisticated, life-affirming “unified theory of everything” that is as refreshing as it is audacious. Since I have a brain as well as a heart, I took inspiration from Ken’s startling synthesis of religion and science, a framework that dumbs neither one down. Rather, he honors—in an intense and fierce way—the essential perspective that each one, religion and science, contributes to human experience. He has looked at consciousness from the inside out and the outside in, from inside in and outside out, validating all perspectives while having perspective on them all. One of his best concepts is that “every perspective is true, and partial.” Relative to this concert, he has helped me to understand my personal higher states of consciousness and various stages of being that are associated with musical experiences. (For example, a “peak experience” may simply be a one-time state; then, depending on the stage of development that you’re currently occupying about a particular aspect of life, the fall back to earth may be a hard or a gentle one. Ken encourages us to cultivate gradual progress through stages, so that our overall daily experience expands.) I recommend his work highly if you too are looking to be stretched.

* * * * * * *

I close with an intention—a prayer—for what happens today. May we find here that our hearts are lifted up and calmed down, stretched and enriched. May our voices inspire works of loving kindness; may this music move us all to acts of generosity and forgiveness; and may the vibrations that we generate here be catalysts so that we can go out and take small or large steps, as we are able, to heal this broken world. Thank you so very much for being here to share this experience with us.

Jonathan Miller
Founder and Artistic Director

 

From the Principal Guest Music Director

I was university-educated at the height of the postmodern “movement”.  And while some social features of this period in intellectual history still mystify me, I did manage to absorb one important idea: all human knowledge is contextual. None of us is objective.

Several of my professors took it upon themselves to drive home the point that this applied in particular to religious or spiritual claims. While we were taught that all claims to “truth”, and certainly to “absolute truth” were to be viewed with suspicion, we were also taught that any claims possessing a taint of the “religious” about them were to be dismissed utterly. This made me uncomfortable at the time, though I was unable to articulate exactly why.

As I continued in the academy, I began to notice that some of the same (highly educated,highly intelligent) people who embraced postmodernism most enthusiastically also subscribed ardently to the notion that all religions were essentially the same. Each, they claimed, was climbing the same mountain. Or, in another popular illustration, each was like a blind man grasping part of an elephant and describing it to the others: some grasped the trunk, others the tail, leg, or tusk. In the story, each blind man (somewhat comically) disagreed with all the others about what an elephant was truly “like”. If only they could see (as we, the storyteller and hearers could see), that each of their accounts was partly true (though more false than true) and stop arguing!

Only after I graduated did I see the fatal flaw in this illustration, and at the same time why it was so appealing. Who, exactly, is telling the story? Why is it that while all the earnest truth-seekers in the story are “blind”, somehow the storyteller and those hearing the story are granted the power to view the entire situation truly? Are they claiming objectivity after all, but reserving it only for themselves? Is some humility not in order here?

As a guild, musicians listen for a living. Vocal musicians, one could say, go one step further: we empathize for a living. In working to offer texts truly in song, we empathize with lovers, blackguards, and heroes, with stoics and epicureans, with the privileged and the downtrodden.  We seek to bring characters to life, and we resolve to give the author their subject. None of us performing for you tonight, whether we choose to disclose our faith commitments or not, can legitimately claim objectivity. My personal commitment to attempting to follow Jesus does not magically make me objective, just as it does not disqualify me from participating in discussions on the deepest questions of life. Christianity is sometimes described as one beggar telling another where he has found food. What we performers can offer is to bring our craft to bear on many truth-seekers’ utterances (each aesthetically distinct, and many of them philosophically and spiritually distinct as well), directed towards something beyond themselves. Each assumes (or, in part, articulates) different answers to the big questions of life: why are we here? What (if anything) is wrong? What (if anything) is the answer? What is the “good life”? What happens when we die? Do these seekers, despite apparently fundamental differences in their accounts, each describe something ultimately identical? It does not appear so to me, but I cannot claim objectivity in the matter. Instead, I choose to listen. In doing so, I hope to learn what some people believe.

John William Trotter
Principal Guest Music Director

 

Notes on the music by Jonathan Miller

Synagogue chant, “Ata horeita lada’at” /
Gregorian chant, “Laudate pueri” (Psalm 113)

We begin by crossing a “sacred bridge,” combining a Jewish chant and one from the Roman Catholic rite. They are similar in sound and feel. You can easily imagine the ways that singing in the Temple inspired singing in early Christian gatherings.

We are in the season of Simchat Torah (“joy in the Torah”), the holiday that follows the fall harvest festival of Sukkot in the Jewish year. The celebration of Simchat Torah includes a wonderful ceremony called the hakafot, where the Torah scrolls are carried around the synagogue seven times, in a procession that includes happy singing and rejoicing. At this point in the yearly cycle of reading the weekly Torah portions, the book of Deuteronomy is concluded, and the scrolls are wound back to the beginning so that the next cycle can begin with Genesis 1:1. Just before the hakafot procession, the leader intones this prayer, which includes many lines in the Hebrew Bible that are also found in other well-known prayers. Cantor Rachel Rosenberg of Congregation Rodfei Zedek shared this melody with us, which in turn inspired us to place it next to “Laudate Pueri.”

Singers familiar with the Latin psalm-tone may not be so familiar with the ending for Psalm 113 that we sing here; the ending is one of those found in the Liber usualis, the compendium of chants for the entire year compiled by the monks at the abbey of Solesmes in France about a hundred years ago. We are singing it to show the similarities between the two chant traditions, which in a sense are two branches of the same tree.

Alexander Demophon (Italy, fl. c. 1480), ed. Paul van Nevel: Volgi gli occhi, o madre pia

There have been many times and places in the history of sacred music when a particular style has become, we might put it politely, rather in need of refreshment and rejuvenation. One such time and place was the late Middle Ages in Italy, when music and prayers in Latin were providing only limited inspiration to the people. Church musicians and poets created a new form called the lauda and wrote devotional songs in the Italian language, beginning well before the Protestant Reformation brought vernacular worship to other lands. The laude have a direct appeal and a simplicity that makes them easy to sing and to grasp. One might look to the post-Vatican II “guitar mass” or “praise music” for a more recent example of liturgical refreshment.

This glorious piece of music is by a composer about whom almost nothing is known. Alexander Demophon’s current reputation outside the music library rests primarily on the beautiful recording that Paul van Nevel directed with his superb group, the Huelgas Ensemble, based in Leuven, Belgium. Mr. van Nevel graciously agreed to share his edition of Volgi gli occhi with us. The simple 8-syllable lines have an ease and rhythm nicely captured by the music, and the song feels like speech that just naturally happens to be sung on musical pitches.

Henry Purcell: Hear my prayer, O Lord

In his short life, Purcell created some of the most beautiful music ever to come out of England. He was the leading English composer of the late 17th century, bridging the period between the English lute-song of Henry Lawes and the high-Baroque works of Handel. His operatic works Dido and Aeneas and The Faerie Queene show his flair for dramatic writing.  Also a church musician of great skill, Purcell wrote many verse anthems and full anthems, and this little a cappella gem is one of his finest creations. In recent years, composers such as Sven-David Sandström and Bob Chilcott have written extended “riffs” on Hear my prayer, so iconic is Purcell’s work in the choral canon.

Karen P. Thomas: Caritas abundant (Midwest premiere)

This piece is an homage of sorts to Hildegard von Bingen, the great medieval mystic from Germany who was also a phenomenal composer. Hildegard’s soaring single-line melodies have inspired a number of ensembles to record her works, and the albums by Sequentia and Gothic Voices are among the finest of these. Karen P. Thomas is a superb musician in her own right, artistic director and conductor of the Seattle Pro Musica, an award-winning choral organization that is one of the most important institutions on the cultural scene there.  Thomas is a prolific composer, often inspired by medieval and Renaissance texts.

This work was composed earlier this year for the Association of Anglican Musicians and premiered in June at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. It incorporates Hildegard’s own chant melody in beautiful, atmospheric ways. The harmonic language takes on many delicate and occasionally dramatic shifts; some of the pacing and sonorities recall the Hildegard Motets of Frank Ferko. At the beginning and the end, as the composer notes, “pitch clusters form a delicate halo of sound above the bass, by sustaining the pitches of the chant.”

Georgian Christmas Song, Kakheti region: Alilo

Our colleague Clayton Parr, director of choral activities at Albion College in Michigan, has been for many years a specialist in the music of formerly-Soviet Georgia. He spent a year in Tbilisi, the capital, researching Georgian choral traditions and culture as a Fulbright Scholar.  One of the songs that he brought back is this joyous three-part setting, Alilo. It comes from Kartli-Kakheti in the eastern part of the country. The style is typical of Georgian melismatic singing, with free rhythm in the upper two voices and a drone part below. Although the text actually comes from Christmas, the style is one found throughout the year, and the sound is riveting, haunting, and unique, with “ha ha” and “ho” found at some of the phrase endings.  The word alilo is like “alleluia,” and the feeling is one of joy.

Thomas Tallis: If ye love me

Along with his pupil William Byrd, Tallis was one of the greats of High Renaissance music in England. Born a Catholic, and having worked in Catholic churches and abbeys early in his career, he made his way to London and worked in the Chapel Royal for King Henry VIII after Henry broke from Rome. Tallis helped to fashion the liturgical style of the new Church of England and was influential in many ways, not least because in 1575 he and Byrd secured a monopoly on music printing and music paper in England.

There is a plaintive quality to much of Tallis’s work, and his Lamentations of Jeremiah are deservedly famous. By contrast, this simple, sweet, and completely effective anthem, If ye love me, is a perennial favorite among choirs within and outside of Episcopal/Anglican church settings.

Psalm 51 in Many Forms (Latin, French, German, and Hebrew)

Among the “penitential psalms,” this is one of the most beloved. Verse 17 , “O Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise,” is said three times a day in traditional Jewish liturgy; it is said just before the Amidah (silent devotion), the central portion of the daily service. The psalm made its way into early Christian worship, where it has many places in the weekly and yearly cycle of prayer. For those chanting the Divine Office, Psalm 51 is the first prayer at Vigils on Monday, in the middle of the night; it is also found every morning at Lauds and during Lenten Vespers.

Although tracing the authorship of most psalms is a sketchy business at best, this one is closely connected to the story of King David and Batsheva. She was the wife of one of David’s captains; in one of his less exalted phases, David lusted for her, got her pregnant, and arranged to have her husband killed in battle. When the prophet Nathan confronted David with his misdeeds—in a dramatic conversation worthy of Shakespeare—the king finally realized the depth of his transgression, upon which he is said to have uttered this psalm on the spot. The words are wrenchingly personal, heartfelt, and contrite.

As with most psalms, Psalm 51 can be chanted to a variety of melodic formulae. The best-known choral settings of Psalm 51 are in Latin, most notably the famous Miserere by Gregorio Allegri. Choral geeks will know the story: Allegri’s music became famous for its beauty, a draw for audiences from around the world, surrounded by an aura of mystery. Eventually, in the 18th century, the pope only allowed this piece to be sung during Holy Week, and only in the Sistine Chapel (he understood supply and demand).  The piece’s value was underscored by the threat of excommunication to anyone who leaked a copy or tried to have it published.  However, the pontiff couldn’t compete with the 14-year-old Mozart, who was visiting Rome that week in 1770, and young Wolfgang’s dictation skills were so good that he simply wrote it down in his hotel room after hearing it on Wednesday. He went back on Good Friday, heard it again, and made a few corrections to the manuscript, which he hid in his hat. The music was first published in England in 1771 by Charles Burney, and the “secret” nature of the piece was history.

Recent research shows the original Allegri score in the Vatican archives to be simpler than Mozart’s transcription. It is now known that there was a tradition of improvisation on the written score, meaning that Mozart’s version is only one way to sing it. Harry Christophers, the brilliant director of The Sixteen in London, has created a version of his own, showing the evolution of the piece over the years of its performance history. We are using this new edition as a starting point.

It was important for our performance to have as ecumenical view as possible of Psalm 51.  We therefore are taking Christophers’ version of the Allegri Miserere a few steps further, with a result that we are calling it “Psalm 51 in Many Forms.” After Allegri’s opening music in Latin, which alternates block-chord declamation (based on the Gregorian tonus peregrinus) with flowing counterpoint, we switch to the French of the 16th-century Genevan Psalter, with simple block chords that highlight the direct effect that the new Protestant poets and musicians wanted to have in the vernacular. Then we go briefly back to Allegri before singing the tour de force by Johannes Brahms of verses 11-13, Schaffe in mir, Gott (Create in me a clean heart, O God). Following the Brahms, we sing a short verse in Hebrew, using the Sephardic folk melody that scholars now suggest was one of the original psalm-tones in the Temple in Jerusalem, because it so closely resembles the tonus peregrinus. Then we apply the Hebrew words to Allegri’s music, creating yet another cross-genre effect. We conclude with the final verses of the Allegri; these feature the famous, soaring high C from Mozart’s edition, which virtually all choirs use now when performing the work.

Trad. Ghanaian: Eshu O

This chant comes from the Yoruba people of west Africa. Traditionally, Eshu is the trickster god, much like Loki in Norse mythology, and an orisha, or one of the manifestations of the deity. Eshu is venerated in many forms, of which Eshu-Elegba is one of the oldest. In Yorubaland, Eshu-Elegba is an energy arising from the holy red rock of that place, called the Yangi.  Because Eshu is the governor of the threshold, it is customary in the Western Hemisphere to open a set of prayers with an invocation to Eshu/Elegba.

We were taught this song by Mama Edie, the gifted and generous storyteller who participated in our Go Down, Moses production in the spring of 2002, where it was, appropriately, the opening song.

Trad. Greek Orthodox chant: Alleluiarion of Pentekoste

In the Constantinopolitan Cathedral tradition of the Byzantine Eucharist, this responsorial chant takes place after the Epistle and before the Gospel. At this point in the service, the church would be lavished with incense, and the music helps to cover the transition of the deacon as he walks to the pulpit. We were generously provided with this beautiful chant by our colleagues at Cappella Romana, the distinguished group from the Portland/Seattle area that specializes in Eastern religious chant and musical traditions. Ioannis Arvanitis, the scholar of Byzantine chant, prepared this performing edition from manuscripts at the Abbey of Grottaferrata in the suburban hills of Rome. This is an extraordinarily beautiful chant from a tradition that is only now gaining a wide audience.

Trad. Hindu chant: Gayatri Mantra

Among all of the Sanskrit mantras, the Gayatri mantra is one of the oldest and most powerful and beneficial. The text comes from the Rig Veda. The mantra has such esteem that Gayatri herself has been elevated to the role of a goddess in the Hindu worldview. The effects on the person chanting it are said to include purifying the chakras and subtle karmas, physical/mental/emotional healing, and more. Author Gyan Rajhans writes that “it is believed that, by chanting the Gayatri Mantra and fully establishing it in your mind, if you carry on your life and do the work that is ordained for you, your life will be full of happiness.” While we will not do quite so many repetitions here, it is recommended to do this mantra at least 108 times a day. There are a number of melodies used to chant this text, and this one, in a major-sounding key, has great appeal.

Nikki Manevi, arr. Tom Price: Dastam Begir

This song comes from the Baha’i tradition. Emily Price has provided background as follows: “Abdu’l-Bahá was the son of the founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah, and was known to the Baha’is as The Master or The Perfect Examplar, as he was on a spiritual plane unlike any other. He so perfectly embodied all of the spiritual qualities which the Baha’is aspire to, and the words of this poem characterize the feeling of supplicating to Abdul-Baha to help us through this life.” The tune is sweet and heartfelt, as befits the lyric, written in Persian.  Tom Price’s choral arrangement provides gentle harmonic underpinning for Nikki Manevi’s melody.

Harry Einhorn: Seven Line Supplication to Guru Rinpoche

Harry Einhorn is a Canadian-born, New York-based composer. His parents exposed him to Buddhism early on, and he has pursued Buddhist practice in his own life, also incorporating Buddhist themes and materials into his compositions and artistic work. The Seven Line Supplication to Guru Rinpoche is a traditional Tibetan prayer invoking Padmasambhava, the Tantric Buddhist master who helped establish Buddhism in Tibet sometime in the 8th Century and gave numerous teachings which are still being discovered today. In ways similar to the Gayatri mantra, this prayer is said to clear outer, inner, and secret obstacles on the path to full, complete, awakening.

The composer notes: “This piece is dedicated as an offering to the Karmapa, Orgyen Trinle Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Contained within is a sacred text still practiced and revered by many people around the world. In Himalayan culture and Buddhist practice in general, it is customary that such texts are not placed directly on the ground, stepped on or stepped over, or carelessly thrown away.”