You Moving Stars (2017)
For soprano, electric guitar (or harp and electronics)
Commissioned by Anne Harley/Voices of the Pearl, with support of the Canada Council for the Arts
Additional collaborators: Steve Thachuk, guitar; Barbara Pöschl-Edrich, harp; Andrew Nguy/Pomona College Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures; and Brian Levman
This work sets female voices from the Therīgāthāin Pali, and the Golden Light Sūtra in early Chinese from the Dunhuang scroll owned by Scripps College, the women’s liberal arts college within the Claremont Consortium. For soprano voice(s), electric guitar/harp, and electronics. The Dunhuang scroll held by Scripps’s Denison Library is the seventh scroll of the Sūtra on the Supreme King of Golden Light, more commonly known as the Golden Light Sūtra. There were three translations of this text from Sanskrit to Chinese, with this edition completed in the seventh century by the Tang Dynasty monk Yijing (義淨). The Therīgāthā is the earliest collection of women’s literature known in the world, and it collects spiritual poems by and about early female disciples of the historical Buddha (from approximately 5th century BCE).
Voices of the Pearl traces, in newly commissioned song cycles, the tenuous lineage of women who dared to encounter the unmediated divine; their efforts span time, religion, nation and culture. The project commissions, performs and records musical works from composers across the globe, setting text by and about female esoterics from world traditions throughout history, reclaiming these lost voices and the tradition of female spirituality. Voices of the Pearl traces the tenuous lineage of women who dared to encounter the unmediated divine; their efforts span time, religion, nation and culture.
I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.