Monday, April 11, 2016

A Year's Music: Tin's "Calling All Dawns"

I frequently listen to the Pandora channel for Alan Hovhaness, and Christopher Tin's 2009 "Calling All Dawns" is a selection on that channel. I hadn't heard it before but subsequently found the whole composition on YouTube. What a gorgeous, moving piece!

The Lincoln Center provides this summary: "… Calling All Dawns’ 'Baba Yetu' made history as the first piece of music written for a video game ever to be nominated for—or win—a Grammy. Composed for the game Civilization IV, the song drew attention from technology sources like, who called it 'a standout piece of music … richly deserving of the award' and Higher Plain Music, who called the album 'a masterpiece … pure and absolute musical hedonism.'"

The summary continues: "Calling All Dawns is a powerful journey of twelve songs in twelve different languages—including Swahili, Mandarin, Hebrew, Irish, and Farsi—all dealing with the themes of life, death and rebirth and carrying a message of unity. Lyrics are drawn from a variety of sources, both sacred and secular: Japanese haiku, Maori proverbs, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, and many more, with each song flowing seamlessly into the next. Songs of sorrow, mystery, and hardship reflect the complexity of mortality, while songs of joy, triumph and exultation bring us roaring back to life, beginning the cycle anew." That opening piece "Baba Yetu" is a Swahili translation of the Lord's Prayer.

The composer's website allows one to read the lyrics and download the booklet:

Here is the piece on YouTube:

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