Rumi: “We have fallen into the place where everything is music.“
Whether from East or West, music can at its most sublime truly be “of the heavens”. This will be lavishly demonstrated at a most exceptional concert of sacred music and words to be held at Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney, on Saturday 23 November. It starts at 7.30pm and tickets are on sale from 6.30pm. This is a “once-only” event and unmissable. Dr Kim Cunio and I have pioneered the successful honoring and integrating of sacred music, as well as spoken words with music, and this concert will be a landmark occasion. Kim is an exceptional composer as well as performer, and preeminent in world sacred music. The musicians he has gathered will enchant you. They include violinist Nawres Al-Freh, originally from Iraq; Nicholas Ng who plays erhu and pippa as well as organ and piano; pianist Mark Isaacs; visionary soprano, Heather Lee, and Liz Lecoanet of “Sydney Sings”. I will be sharing some astonishingly beautiful prayers and psalms from Heaven on Earth – some of the most beautiful words ever written – also accompanied by music. It’s safe to predict this will be a transcendent evening.
We finalized our program just days ago and it is even more powerful and exquisite than I could have hoped, reflecting the many years of outstanding creative work that Kim and I have done separately and together at retreats as well as, since 2006, at the monthly services we offer at Pitt Street Uniting Church. It’s also particularly inspired by my new book of prayers and inspiration: Heaven on Earth.
So much of the poetry, so many of the prayers in that book “sing”: sing to the heart and soul as well as delighting or consoling the mind. That led us to collaborate on a new CD together – “Heavenly” – which combines reading of some of the prayers with music. (The CD will be available for the first time at the concert, along with hardcover copies of Heaven on Earth.)
Our collaboration on the recording led to the concert – has made this concert possible. Our musicians are playing instruments as varied as cello, piano, organ, erhu, Eastern violin, pippa, harmonimum. They will be playing individually and in ensemble, and include exquisite singers Heather Lee and Elizabeth Lecoanet. The healing power of this music is sustained by the words…and the words by the heavenly sounds. “We have fallen into the place where everything is music,” wrote Rumi. Our concert speaks to, comes from that “place”.
Details of the concert follow. A reminder again: tickets on sale from 6.30pm. Ticket price $25.
“Heavenly”: Sacred words and music, Pitt Street (264) Uniting Church, Sydney, 7.30pm. Tickets on sale from 6.30pm. Tickets $25. Books and CDs for sale, including Stephanie Dowrick’s Heaven on Earth, and the launch CD from Universal Heart Music, “Heavenly”, featuring Kim Cunio & Stephanie Dowrick.