Chalice is a choral composition exploring the interplay between life and death through a fusion of Christian ideas, expressed via Gregorian Chant influences, and Buddhist concepts, inspired by The Tibetan Book of the Dead. This is also reflected within the piece through the amalgamation of self-written text, words from Tertuillian’s Apologeticus and Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones by Patrul Rinpoche. The ‘Chalice’ was, and is, a symbol of rebirth, the notion of a “cup or vessel of life” being a reoccurring theme throughout history and world culture. Hence, Chalice is written in a cycle made of four stages, with an identical introduction and coda, written to reinforce the cyclical structure and ubiquitous symbiosis between life and death. The piece starts and ends with a sense of ambiguity and ‘open-endedness’ whilst the rest of the piece follows in four stages; the ‘Living and Walking,’ ‘Meditation and Dreaming,’ ‘Time of Death’ and ‘Time After Death’ States appropriated from the 6 realms of existence from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The use of unaccompanied voice is designed to create an open, ethereal sound, reflecting how spiritual or metaphysical connections can be experienced regardless of one’s religious beliefs, and symbolising the inevitability of both life and death.
Difficulty: Medium to Advanced
Length: 4 minutes
Work can be performed as a choral work for chamber choir or four solo voices