Love & Lamentation

POGUS 21048 POGUS 21048

"The Sandokai ('The Harmony of Difference and Equality') is a prayer written by the eighth century Japanese Zen teacher Sekito Kisen. The basis for this piece was a tape given to Wickham-Smith by a nun of a recital at her monastery. He wanted to create of this sample a prayer without borders, a follow-up to an earlier work, 'Ave Regina Caelorum' (2000, released on Extreme Bukake), in which he used the Latin plainsong of a prayer to the Virgin Mary in much the same way. The organ sample at the end is from a piece by Erik Satie, whose spirituality was equally strange and eclectic. All the samples have been stretched and pitch-shifted beyond (immediate) recognition; to the ears they have melded into something that seems at once both ethereal and solid. 'The Kin-kindness of Beforehand' grew out of his 'Multiple Tongues' project, a series of pieces in which Wickham-Smith exposed the spoken word in many different languages to a series of digital manipulations. 'The Kin-kindness of Beforehand' is divided up into several distinct sections, each of which took on a particular persona during its creation. For the composer, this was the most complex of all the 'Multiple Tongues' works, because he wanted to use specific strings of words and the quality of writer Rachel Becker's voice somehow to comment on each another. Love & Lamentation started life as a setting for voice and electronics of part of the biblical Book of Lamentation, but it quickly became clear to that the literal setting of words was not going to convey the melancholic intimacy that needed to be expressed. As a teenager Wickham-Smith had heard Alain Gheerbrant's wonderful ethnomusicological recordings of a blind Turkish troubador and had fallen hopelessly in love with his voice and exquisite playing of the saz. About the same time, through his friend Richard Youngs, he had discovered also the ex tempore psalm singing of the Scottish Isle of Lewis. Fifteen years later, he decided that these two could be made somehow to work together to show the love and lamentation which he felt they both held in their deeper recesses, and which he wanted to present in this new piece. The result is a strange melée of feelings, repetitions and textures."