For flute, clarinet, violin, piano, harp, percussion
Commissioned by The Network for New Music
Premiered The Network for New Music, Jan Kryzwicki conducting, Scott Kluksdahl cellist, on 11 April 1999
Duration: 9 minutes
This work is available on Dream Journal.
In 1999, Richard Dyer of The Boston Globe wrote, "Passion Prayers is an extraordinarily lustrous and intensely mystical piece with a radiant shimmer that recalls the music of Olivier Messiaen, although Thomas's means are her own. The chief meditator is the cello, which draws the other six instruments into its ecstatic orbit."
Commissioned and premiered in 1999 by The Network for New Music in Philadelphia, Jan Kryzwicki conducting with Scott Kluksdahl as solo cellist, the micro-concerto, scored for soloist and 6 instruments, has a duration of 9 minutes. The music falls loosely into 3 parts that are played without a pause: moderate, slow, fast.
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, 13 January 2013 "Augusta Read Thomas, the 16th luminary to hold the title University Professor at the U. of C., [was] represented by two works. Thomas' Passion Prayers (1999) and her more recent Scat (2007) were good foils for each other, in several respects.
"Passion Prayers set the intense, lyrical musings of Pacifica cellist Brandon Vamos within an instrumental fabric for six strings, woodwinds, piano, harp and percussion that was by turns restless, spiky, agitated and shimmering. The cellist dispatched his part with impassioned dedication.
"Per its title, Scat (for flute, violin, viola, cello and piano) inverts the technique whereby jazz singers imitate instruments either wordlessly or with random or nonsense syllables. The reverse role-play has the instrumentalists bouncing quirky rhythmic riffs off one another, an effect the composer likens to that of a stone skipping across a watery surface. Its six tightly-coiled minutes distill the percolating energy of jazz without actually being jazz. The performance was electric."
Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe "Augusta Read Thomas's Passion Prayers is an extraordinarily lustrous and intensely mystical piece with a radiant shimmer that recalls the music of Olivier Messiaen, although Thomas's means are her own. The chief meditator is the cello, which draws the other six instruments into its ecstatic orbit."
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