We are delighted to present Prach Boondiskulchok’s The Work for SATB Choir.
Prach tells us about this commission and the inspiration behind the work:
In the autumn of last year, I was asked by the commissioner to write a piece using one of his father’s favourite teachings of Rabbi Tarfon from the Pirkei Avot:
“It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it”
The wit and wisdom of this excerpt really appealed to me at first, but writing music to such a short text that already “does its own music” with its almost zen-teaching-like contradictory nature, proved to be quite a challenge! In the end, I decided to set both the original Hebrew and the English translations, sung alongside each other, with the Hebrew set on very long notes, like a cantus firmus in early Renaissance vocal settings. The English, on the other hand, unfolds quickly but in a fragmented manner, gradually revealing the meanings of each phrase, often contradicting itself. The piece culminates in the word libatail and liberty, while the two languages sound almost the same, the music splits into two completely different textures: one joyous and free, and another an intensifying demand or protest.Prach Boondiskulchok
Fortunately, in the very brief opening between lockdowns in December, a recording of The Work was possible to be made with Rebecca Lea – soprano, Lotte Betts-Dean – mezzo soprano, Alastair Putt – tenor, and Robert Rice – baritone, as can be heard in this score video:
The Work was commissioned by Blake Meike for Jerry, Sally, Rusty, Annemarie, Mercy and Roger Meike.