It’s with great joy that I share with you my new composition ‘ONE’. It was originally scheduled to premier live as part of our concert at the Holland Festival this year, and it was postponed amid Covid-19 shutdowns. But the artistic spirit of all involved is undimmed as I think this recording shows.
‘ONE’ is very close to my heart. It’s the first release of our upcoming album, ‘When Paths Meet’, in collaboration with Cappella Amsterdam and The Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra. The world has changed since we first conceived this meeting of artistic heritages. But our goal for the work hasn’t changed: from the beginning it has been to travel along separate paths—through music—and to meet at a place where the oneness of the human spirit can be experienced in art. That is what shines out through the ethereal voices of Cappella Amsterdam and through the richly textured dynamic rhythms of The Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra. It’s what the lyrics point to: Meister Eckhart and Abu al-Hasan al-Shushtari, each a genius of their respective paths, are speaking in different metaphysical languages of one and the same thing. The goal of ‘ONE’ is to emphasize the separate beauty of each path and at the same time their underlying unity.
What has changed around us since we started this work is, I believe, a kind of global awakening that began with a pandemic that shows our vulnerability to and responsibility for each other. This increased awareness of our interconnectedness is continuing with a sudden widespread recognition that racism and social injustice must be stopped immediately and can be stopped at an individual level as well as a societal/institutional one. The arts have a role to play in this movement. There is now a heightened receptivity to what lies at the very heart of ‘ONE’: one seeing, one knowing, one love.
The process of composing this piece was filled with many joys for me. For one: Wanting to choose mystical writing from the European tradition, I immersed myself in the writings of Meister Eckhart and Hildegard of Bingen for weeks. It was during this time that the hauntingly beautiful melody that you hear at the opening actually came to me in dream, like a gift from the unseen world.
Working with the consummate artists of Cappella Amsterdam and The Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra, as well as my own amazing group of course, has been an incredible experience. As a composer it is a great pleasure to put my work in the hands of such talented musicians. There is a tremendous level of trust among us. I cannot praise their musicianship and dedication enough. I’m thrilled with the prospect of our future collaboration as we move forward with ‘When Paths Meet’.
As for the recording — made under Covid-19 restrictions — it was unbelievably challenging. What you see and hear is almost 30 musicians in separate studios each recording their parts in isolation from one another. It’s like a live performance in that there was very little editing and in most cases there was only one take.
The directors at the Holland Festival, who shepherded this unique project from its inception, are truly visionary in their recognition of the vital role the arts play in shaping attitudes and effecting change. What they do is thought-provoking, transformative and nothing short of magical. Their dedication to bringing the world together in creative expression is admirable and deserves all of our support. I thank them especially for sharing their creative aspirations throughout our work on ‘When Paths Meet’, a work that, with the release of ‘ONE’, is only just beginning.
I’m looking forward to finally meeting all these truly great musicians in person next year in Amsterdam when we perform ‘When Paths Meet’ at the Holland Festival in June 2021.
Hoping very much to see you there too.
Watch/Listen Now: https://sy.lnk.to/One