Range of Light/The Fifth Lake
Catherine Robbin, mezzo-soprano; Just Strings Ensemble,; John Schneider, guitar
Most of us are not able to live in a state of nature and wilderness, but perhaps the aesthetic dimension opened through art can bring the image of Nature to us where we do live; that is the goal of this music.
Range of Light was composed after encountering for the first time the writings of naturalist John Muir, in particular the posthumously published excerpts from his journals. In considering what it meant to be a composer with roots in California, the depth of the chord struck by Muir's beautiful language echoed my own desire to bear witness to the glorious reality of the Sierra Nevada mountains; this is a celebratory work.
The Fifth Lake is an instrumental work, with a specific personal program attached. Several years ago I visited a small chain of five jewel-like lakes above the Mineral King Valley in the southern Sierra Nevada: the Mosquito Lakes. We camped at the top lake, the fifth one in the chain, and the next morning I experienced what I believe is signified by the word Peace; a brief state of grace. I took a photograph of the outflow of the lake that morning, which is reproduced on the cover of this booklet. Memory and music can often form a powerful alliance; through the temporal arts we have the power to reinvoke time. The spell, if successful, can be created so as to give substance to the insubstantial; this is the potential triumph of aesthetic mimesis over linear time.
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Toward the Night
String Ensemble Endless; Masaharu Kanda, cello; Kyoko Sato, soprano; Toshiyuki Uzuka, conductor
Mingling minimalism and traditional Japanese music, imperturbably ascetic textures and the sensuous appeal of endless melody, Satoh's music opens another window on comtemporary music for listeners already seduced by the music of Arvo Pärt, John Tavener and Henryk Gorecki
In Buddhism there is the idea of Samsara (transmigration). It is believed that man infinitely repeats life and death toward the next life. Mankind is also thought to repeat its fall and rebirth. After millions of years, the existence of mankind is beginning to sink into the deep dusk. As an ancient Chinese saint once said, "If I don't obtain enlightenment now, in which life should I be able to get it?" I find myself constantly returning to his words. "Toward the Night" is the tone of the dusk which resonates in my mind.
"Ruika" [an ancient Japanese expression] is an anthem to mourn the soul of the departed. Within this music we hear the wind from the world of spirit - it intrinsically emanates an odor of death. In listening, we immerse ourselves in the vibration of voices coming from the abode of departed souls, from a vacancy of sound, and we sense the waves of a glimmer appearing at the margin of sound.
"Homa" [Sanskrit] is a sacred fire, a fire of purgation, a sacrificial fire offering to celestial gods. In the summer of 1988 my grandmother passed away at the age of 90. I wrote this music as a prayer for the peace of her pure spirit in the firmament. This music is chanted as a mantra.
Om mani padme hum.
Om sarva-tathagata-pada-vandanam karomi.
Om svabhave-suddhah sarva-dharmah-suddho ham.
Om, jewel in the lotus!
Om, I believe in and worship Buddha, past, present and future!
Om, this eternal universe is the uterus of God and all the emerging events here are intrinsically pure and innocent.
Thus I myself am also pure by nature.
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