Forms of Emptiness

(1986)

by Jonathan Harvey

Description
unaccompanied SATB chorus
Contributors
Cummings Ee (Author)
Duration
13
Genres
Mixed Voices
Text
EE Cummings and from the Heart Sutra
Languages
English
Commission

Commissioned by the New London Chamber Choir with funds provided by Greater London Arts Association

First Performance
15.4.86, St John's Smith Square, London: New LondonChamber Choir/James Woods
Availability

Score 0-571-54013-9 on sale

Programme Notes

Forms of Emptiness is a work for mixed choir which sets words from the Buddhist Heart Sutra, in the original Sanskrit, and three poems by E.E. Cummings. The E.E. Cummings poems all have emphasis on the here and now, on ‘catching the joy as it flies’. Seeker of truth Follow no path All paths lead where Truth is here Against these vivid flashes of joy and colour is set a chant - the sanskrit of the Heart Sutra - which acts as a ground from which the ‘forms of emptiness’ briefly emerge, and against which they are comprehended as transient, scarcely real. There are references to other ‘sacred styles’ as well as that of the chant - to those of Palestrina and Messiaen for instance. Jonathan Harvey

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