Spielzeit 26.08. - 09.10.

Litany For The Whale

»Sui-Zen« meets John Cage – a meditation in sound Programme includes works by Luca Belasco, John Cage, Heinz Holliger and Ken Ueno

»The greatest revelation is silence.« / Ryôkan

Out of the silence, a note grows, building, taking every thought prisoner and transforming it into breathing music. This sounds both simple and complex, it is both playful and serious, flying as an improviser through the wide space which the singers have created with their pictures in sound.

The four a capella singers of The Hilliard Ensemble have touched a musical nerve in their combination of improvisation and the ancient church vocal tradition, which reflects the desire to lose oneself in mystic realm beyond time as well as to surrender oneself to memories of the cycle of eternity. In the course of its 37 year existence, The Hilliard Ensemble has acquired a reputation as one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles. Originally specializing in music from before 1600, the particular quality of this English quartet has inspired numerous contemporary composers to write new music for its unmistakable musical phrasing.

In Litany For the Whale the ensemble encounters for the first time Tadashi Tajima, one of Japan’s most famous traditional musicians, who picks up upon the dense spatial sound of these four remarkable singers with his shakuhachi flute, the leading Japanese wind instrument, and extends this congenially with his ›sui-zen‹ (wind meditations).

These spiritual improvisations which have been inspired by Zen Buddhism and passed down over the centuries from generation to generation are intended to encapsulate the highest human striving in their intense force and to persuade the listener to leave silence behind and then to return to it: music is created out of silence and sometimes silence itself becomes music.

A Ruhrtriennale commission.


Tadashi Tajima – Tamuke

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From the album »Shingetsu«

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