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Robert Saxton

Publisher: Chester Music

Prayer before Sleep (1997)
commissioned by David Gryn as a memorial to Rabbi Hugo Gryn
Publisher
Chester Music Ltd
Category
Solo Voice(s) and up to 6 players
Year Composed
1997
Duration
5 Minutes
Soloist
Soprano
Orchestration
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Score and Part(s) Score and Part(s)

Programme Note
Robert Saxton Prayer before Sleep (1997)
Prayer before Sleep was commissioned by David Gryn in memory of his father, Rabbi Hugo Gryn. Scored for soprano voice, cello and piano, it is a small-scale cantata in four linked movements. The cello begins alone and, as its melodic line grows, the piano enters, following a similar path of increasing activity. As the cello reaches the highest note of the movement, the voice enters, singing a poem (in English) which I wrote, incidentally, about a week before David Gryn asked me to compose the piece; the text is concerned with the soul’s freedom and the ascent to eternal life. This movement leads into a dance for cello and piano; this, in its turn, gives way to the final part, the only time when all three performers are combined. The soprano sings, in Hebrew, part of a Talmudic text entitled 'Prayer before Sleep' which contains the significant line: 'Give light to my eyes lest I sink into the sleep of death, for it is You who illuminate the pupil of the eye'. The cello joins the voice and they share a long melodic line while the piano plays a progression of bell-like chords which lead to the closing D major cadence in a spirit of hope and light.

Robert Saxton

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