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Mantra Cantata


 for SATB Chorus, Soloists, and Orchestra

(also for Chorus and Piano Quintet and Chorus, String Orchestra, and Piano) 

 (Nov. '08--Nov. '09)       Traditional lyrics in Sanskrit and Hindi

In memory of my sister Akanda, and my guru Neem Karoli Baba

All documents are PDF.

*Full Orchestral Score, Legal size        Coverpremiere
        Orchestral Parts
*Piano Quintet and Chorus Score

        Piano Quintet parts         Cover

String Orchestra, Piano, and Chorus Score

      String Orchestra parts         Cover

String Orchestral Score, 11"x17"
Vocal Score

      Piano part for Vocal Score

Recordings from the October 21, 2012 premiere  of the string orchestra and piano version with Rodney Wynkoop leading the Chamber Chorus of the Choral Society of Durham, Ciompi quartet as section leaders of the string orchestra, Randall Love on piano. Someday we'll perform the full orchestral version--somehow, somewhere, somewhen!


I. Om Jaya Jagadish Hare                    

     Brightly      [9:30]   MP3 recording   video        

II. Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram     
     Adagio raghunatha
    [6:44]   MP3 recording  video      

III. Hanuman Chalisa         
     Allegro vanara      [19:34]     MP3 recording

 Program to October 21, 2012 premiere performance  

Also; Recording of Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram   from the January 13, 2012 premiere  of the string orchestra and piano version, arranged for Jewelsong
MP3 recording     video (YouTube)  

 Program Notes

I started chanting mantras in about 1971, just before my first attempts at composition. This powerful practice is central to my spiritual life, and inspires much of my music, both instrumental and vocal. For some time I have intended to write a large work based on my experiences with personal chanting, as well as sankirtan (congregational chanting), but wanted to wait until I had experience and opportunities for possible performance.
        My own attention span is rather long, and I enjoy many classical compositions lasting well over an hour. However our modern times, and performance realities, dictate more modest lengths. The three movements of this cantata could be augmented in the future should more length be acceptable; or, maybe I’ll write another to use for a double Bill.
      The first movement, Om Jaya Jagadish Hare, uses the text to the Universal Aarti. In Hinduism, Aarti is a short ceremony in reverence to a deity or guru with a sung prayer and lighted lamps of clarified butter.
      The second movement uses the simple mantra Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram, pronounced Shree Raam, Jay… It means “Honored (or Radiant) Rama, Victorious Rama.” The double “aa” is as in “father”.
       The third movement is a setting of the Hanuman Chalisa, a poem by Tulsidas in forty verses in praise of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Sri Rama. This is in the Avadhi dialect of Hindi.

Performance Notes

        I have included a Sanskrit/Hindi pronunciation guide for use with the lyrics printed before the score, which include diacritic marks to ensure complete information on how the words sound when spoken by European scholars. I use an anglicized spelling in the score and vocal part; this simplified pronunciation is appropriate outside of India.
            In every meter change, except where indicated otherwise, the duration of notes remain the same.
       It is characteristic of sankirtan to keep things simple. I have limited the chorus to SATB, with one very brief exception in the Hanuman Chalisa where each voice splits in two (mm. 281-284). In the absence of choral forces, four singers could use amplification. For this case at the split, the upper three voices should take the upper part and the bass should sing the lower part. In any appropriate passage, the section can be replaced by a soloist at the discretion of the choral director. The current pattern of solo passages is as suggested by Rodney Wynkoop, conductor of the premiere performance on October 21, 2012.
       While there are challenges to performers, any good college orchestra should be able to perform this piece. Professionals will find plenty to keep them busy.

      The double bass part has excursions below low E. In all my orchestral scores, I write notes down to low C with the same notes included an octave higher in case the bassist does not have an extension or fifth string. It is important for this piece that some basses can play the lower notes.
      I have made revisions and format changes and tweaks to parts and scores in October 2022.