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, and 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.