Prayer / Inori II - for 8 Voices (2011 / revised 2017)

After a poem by Rabindranath Tagore

Helsinki Helsinki Chamber Choir under the direction of Nils Schweckendiek
24.03. 2018, St John’s church, Waterloo, the London ear Festival
18 Min.
Prayer / Inori II is a new version for 8 voices of Prayer / Inori which was composed for
mixed choir a cappella just after the devastating East Japan Earthquake on March 11th
2011. The piece was wriaen as a tribute to all the victims of the Earthquake, Tsunami and
Nuclear Disaster.
When I think of human voices, I am immediately reminded of a particularly intense
childhood memory.
In my childhood, I often heard the voices of chanting Sutras. They were sung together by
both Buddhists priests and the local old women.
The tempo and tunes sung by the old women were slightly different than those sung by
the priests but still had the overall effect as being one powerful voice. The chanting of
Sutras is in fact praying but for me, the singing and the praying were inseparable.
The human voice is the most direct medium for expressing ourselves. And I guess that
singing and praying have the same roots.
The poem that I chose for my piece is by Rabindranath Tagore and is entitled “fruits
gathering No. LXXIX, and describes praying. It was originally wriaen in Bengal and was
translated into English by Tagore himself.
The text portrayed for me a transformation from an introverted murmuring to a releasing
of fearless freedom.
I was especially aaracted by the idea of “fearlessness”. I discovered that our breathing
rhythm affects our fear and memory.
If we’re afraid, our breathing and heartbeat are faster. On the other hand, deep long
breaths calm the mind and release us from anxiety.
Following up on Tagore´s universe poem, I aaempted to represent my image of praying
using sound material such as voice vibration, deep sighing, and breathing which allows us
to feel the warmth of life or indeed its clarity and coldness. In certain sections each singer
spells out the words. These individual moments overlap and produce considerable energy.
In this composition the idea that numerous microcosms (single people) can form
macrocosms, appealed to me. A single note consists of a mixture of partials and a
composition is an aggregate of single notes.
The image of human´s murmuring in their prayers on the earth and progressively
gathering energy and achieving a higher level, reminds me of the process of a
fundamental note that is being constantly transformed and thereby revealing its partials
and creating a rich sound cosmos.

Cologne, 23th September 2017,
Malika Kishino