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The Hymn of the Pearl.m4v

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Published on Jul 23, 2012

The Hymn of the Pearl (2011) composed by Leilei Tian ( http//:www.tianleilei.org)
for five instruments and electronics.
Commissioned and played by Sond'Ar-te Electric Ensemble, Portugal.

The piece is inspired by a poem with the same title that is found in the early Christian Gnostic text of The Acts of Thomas the Apostle. In the Acts, we find Thomas imprisoned in India, imploring the Lord for deliverance. When he finishes praying for himself and for the other prisoners, he sits down and begins to recite the Hymn of the Pearl. The hymn tells the story of a boy, "the son of the king of kings", who is sent to Egypt to retrieve a pearl guarded by a terrible serpent. During the quest, he is seduced by Egyptians and forgets his origin and his family. However, a letter is sent from the king of kings to remind him of his past. By the end, the boy succeeded to enchant the serpent into deep sleep, seized the pearl and went back to his kingdom as a hero. It is an allegorical message of the journey of a soul from a pre-mortal home, through mortality, and back to heavenly origin.

In the piece, the bass flute plays a very important role as the enchanter. The electronic part is consisted of some transformed multiphonic singings. The piece as a whole aims to implore the sound colours of each instruments and their various combinations.

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