Cello Prayers


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to pray
it happens when you walk into the heart of the matter
to entreat happens when awe strikes -
it is to negotiate your relation to the whole

she asked me for this recording after playing in a church
- how can i pray with a cello?
it was in early morning (my body sick of some flu)
in a rooftop chamber did i record.
you might hear the neighbour's dog
but i had earphones on (with reverb)
i entered a space
of reverence

my ailment weakened, released me
i imagined being back in the church
i imagined my own vulnerability, the entreatment of my being
and as i started to play, the cello did start to pray
i was alone
the sound on its own
my heart could string its stretched lament

to pray, entreat, supplicate -
these also liberate to joy and play,
slipperate into suspicion and dread,
but never lose the Space! -
(indemnified from daily races where
self sufficiency reigns)

a prayer is never precise
your heart is not mechanical
and so it sings a simpler song, but true.

i pray for the prayer that rises from us all
but all!
- in awe of our planet's
liberating loneliness.

when we still fight, exclude,
our prayers are too small.

track nr Title description Duration
01 enter Slow moving broken chords in the lower register with melody in the higher register of the cello. Subtle harmonic fluctuations that will sympathetically vibrate with the heart's strings. Music with supplicating humbleness. 04:54
02 murmur Cello quasi-recitativo/parlando. At moments the voice of the cello appeals to the heavenly heights and at others it whispers hesitatingly. 2:28
03 lament The falling phrases permeating the music symbolise humility and reservedness. The voice of the cello is softly crying. 02:30
04 relate Very much in the style of the Bach Cello Suites. The middle section being in the minor key is so idiomatic of the Baroque dances. The undulating phrasing is done with so much finesse and elegance! 1:57
05 hesitate Played in a speaking/recitativo manner. Cello speaks in a tone filled with restrained piety. Why do humans hesitate? Within hesitance lies shame, fear, respect, ignorance, conscience. We hesitate in the presence of things greater than ourselves. 3:17
06 reconcile The cello tones murmur peace and quiet. So gentle is the creation of the tones, it seems to speak from within their very cores. 3:08
07 entreat The music is suffused with beautiful long singing lines. An entreatment that is filled with restrained emotion. 2:23
08 dread The cello broods from within its lowest register, with repeated sustained tones. An innate fear lingers at the surface of each tone. The fear is always kept in check, under the surface, ever stirring. 04:25
09 rejoice This piece has the swing of an elegant Baroque/early Classical dance. Some of the phrases reach exuberant heights which will steer the legs and feet into rhythmic shamelessness! 2:51
10 acknowledge A quiet supplication filled with whispering reverence. The piece takes on the chararacter of the Sarabande with its movement suffused with grace and refinement. 2:27
11 suspect From the start one is drawn into a dark, doubtful state. The lines are moulded with discordant intervals which convinces that sound can simulate pain and spiritual suffering. 3:30
12 stray Starting from the low register of the cello, the lines move mainly in twists and turns - never reaching comfortable lyricism. The sound can be compared to "groping around in the dark", hence the title. Searching for meaning with quiet anguish. 2:30
13 allow One can't miss the childlike simplicity of this piece. The quiet tempo and repeated main motive have a soothing effect. An ascetic will appreciate the "stripped" nature of the music - no indulging in elaborate sentiment. 4:47
14 release The tensions that might have been built up in the previous pieces are released in this piece with broad resonating lines. There is a triumphant air to the music, as if the soul has successfully come through a cathartic journey. 3:07
15 appreciate A joyful dance that starts softly with reservation but soon moves into broad strokes of colourful confidence. The dance has a spritely rhythm which will infect the limbs with a life of their own. 2:26
16 valediction A music "talks" in slow-moving sighs - not sighs of suffering and longing, but that of a fulfilled spirit and body. This piece ends off the "Cello Prayers" on an integrated note - peaceful, yet with an air of wisdom and experience. 2:31