LNT1003: Silvina Milstein: a thousand golden bells in the breeze
Note: MP3 download only
Click below to hear an extract.
a thousand golden bells in the breeze borrows its title from an image in Sudhana’s journey of spiritual realization, as related in the last chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Halfway through his pilgrimage the youth seeks a female teacher, who to those who are unable to understand her virtues appears to dwell in the polluted realm of lust and desire. People who can only project their own illusory world-views on her wonder why such an evidently calm, pure, profound and wise young man wishes to submit to the power of her sensuality.
As Sudhana approaches her palace, he is engulfed by the sound of a myriad of golden bells rustling in the breeze. He finds her ‘draped with a radiant mesh made of all kinds of precious substances, shining with an array of countless celestial jewelled ornaments’. Sudhana learns how some of her disciples have transcended passion and attained absorbing joy by just gazing at her. For others, talking to her has been a ‘gate’ to the essence of sound, while many have reached ultimately liberating knowledge and tranquillity by kissing and embracing her.
The piece is scored for harp and two double basses and consists of an introduction and two ‘gates’. On entering each gate we hear a phrase evoking the chiming of an ethereal carillon, which returns at the very end of the work.