John Sharpley’s large-scale oratorio entitled “A Moment of Rest Upon the Wind” will have its world premiere in a concert programmed by the Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra – “By Inspiration” – this Sunday, 1st October, 5pm at SOTA Concert Hall.
The work is for bass-baritone, soprano, actor and symphony orchestra, featuring:
Ochiai Francesco Yohei, bass-baritone solo
(opera singer from Japan)
Akiko Otao, soprano solo
(opera singer from Japan based here in Singapore)
Fraiser Tan, storyteller
Adrian Tan, conductor
Here is what John has to say of his piece:
Kahlil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’ tells the story of Almustafa, who resided in the city of Orphalese for 12 years. About to board a ship that will take him home, a metaphor for his impending death, Almustafa is approached by the people of Orphalese and especially Almitra, the Seeress. He shares his wisdom regarding life, death and spirituality, which form the basis of the book. It is widely accepted that Gibran saw himself in Almustafa and his patroness and beloved, Mary Haskell, in the Seeress.
The work is the result of a growth process, years in the making. In 2011, I composed a song for soprano and piano set to On Marriage from ‘The Prophet’. In 2012, three more songs were added to create ‘Four Songs of the Prophet’ for tenor or soprano and piano. Subsequently in 2013, spoken texts, an overture and a postlude based on other chapters of ‘The Prophet’ were added. This was premiered at the Arts House and also performed in 2014 at LaSalle College of the Arts. In 2015, one of the songs, ‘The Secret of Death’, was featured in the Asian Composers League Festival in Manila. Ultimately, Almustafa became a bass-baritone, Almitra a soprano and storyteller was added. The piano gave way to a full orchestra that would also symbolize, along with the entire audience, the people of Orphalese. Ten of the book’s twenty-eight chapters were adapted and arranged to create a dramatic narrative. A Moment of Rest Upon the Wind might be one of my most important works to date. It has a timely yet eternal message of universal peace, compassion and the interconnectivity of all things.
Do come and show your support!