New Music (sort of): Four Prayers

July 01, 2008 18:28

I wrote these some time ago—at the time there was the possibility of a performance for glass armonica and soprano. Alas, the performance never came to pass.

So here's the set of pieces I wrote: Four Prayers. They were inspired by a verse in the Bible about how "the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans too deep for words." I always thought that was an interesting idea—maybe we're not bright enough to know what to pray for (speaking for myself); maybe words are inadequate for prayers. . .

Along similar lines there's an interesting little book called The Cloud of Unknowing, by an anonymous 14th century Christian mystic. The most interesting idea to me in this book was the 'one word prayer'. His idea (and I'm paraphrasing) is that when you're in a crowded theater and fire breaks out, you don't yell "Attention everyone! Uncontrolled combustion seems to have initiated in this entertainment establishment...". No, instead you yell "FIRE!" Or if you're really in trouble you don't yell "Please come to my assistance", instead you yell "HELP!" Along similar lines the author argues that some of the most powerful prayers (with groans too deep for words?) are the shortest. "Help!" or "Thank you!" or...

So these Four Prayers have NO WORDS. They are all on vowels (like 'ooo' and 'ah').

As you can see, these kinds of musings get the Muse all excited and my composing fingers itchy, and here's the result.

One of Walt Disney's "inventions" in the early days of animation was the 'story board' — where they do mockups of how the film will look before they actually make the film. I make my own mockups, especially when there are other musicians involved, because rehearsal time is incredibly precious and I want to make sure (as best I can) that there are no problems before any rehearsals.

So these are the mockups. The armonica is real, the voice is a synthesizer (it's a mockup, right?) Maybe someday I'll be able to do a proper recording! :-)

  1. Confession: {EZMP3:4Prayers-1-Confession}
  2. Adoration: {EZMP3:4Prayers-2-Adoration}
  3. Supplication: {EZMP3:4Prayers-3-Supplication}
  4. Communion: {EZMP3:4Prayers-4-Communion}


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