The Universe works in strange ways. Recorded almost three years ago, none of us could have known that when this recording was released the world would have lived through a life-altering pandemic or a tumultuous upheaval in the cultural awareness that now surrounds us. The work that opens this recording—with the words of Quaker George Fox that end with, “So be faithful, and live in that which doth not think the time long”—provides a haunting premonition regarding the time in which we live; Quaker George Fox is strangely prophetic about these days and perhaps provides a future caution for us all.
The music chosen for this recording is strangely and poignantly relevant, I believe, for each of us. “The Fruit of Silence” by Pēteris Vasks reminds us to visit those beliefs that are most sacred in the work by Cortlandt Matthews. A deeply personal Requiem by Peter Relph, in reflection, remembers the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the pandemic. And then there is Thomas LaVoy’s “O Great Beyond.” All great texts are timeless and speak to the universality of the human condition. Particularly, the George Fox text set by Jackson Hill and the Tagore text set by LaVoy give us messages to reinforce the humanness of each of us for hope. Two other works on this recording poignantly remind us of the passing of life, with the Relph Requiem and especially the final movement of “O Great Beyond.” May these words give comfort to all those who endured the deepest of Life’s losses during our shared pandemic journey. For so many loved ones, goodbyes were said in silence, and alone. It is our hope that all the music on this CD will show us a way for living as we move forward and also give loving comfort to those who have lost loved ones.
Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.
—Rabindranath Tagore in The Gardener (1913)