MIDNIGHT PRAYER for orchestra

17th Century Tibetan Singing Bowl in Sheila’s rock garden

Midnight Prayer: “An important and substantial piece… Silver describes her work as a “prayer for world peace,” but it is no quiet, passive meditation. Rather, it is a remarkable 12 minute tone poem that conveys a sense of urgency through its ingenious use of harmonic tension and orchestral color.
John Pitcher, Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester

Commissioned and premiered  by Peter Jaffe and the Stockton Symphony in 2004, Midnight Prayer is a prayer for world peace – with a sense of urgency. Most spiritual traditions value the meditative qualities of the hours immediately following midnight.  Midnight Prayer reflects the stillness of these hours, while acknowledging the seriousness of the current world situation.  In preparation for writing Midnight Prayer, I listened intently to Turkish and Syrian Islamic prayer chants.  I was struck by how closely these chants resemble their Jewish counterparts. Motives and ideas from these chants as well as Jewish and Christian prayer monody influenced this work. A Tibetan meditation singing bowl is featured prominently in the piece, along with the trumpet, trombone, and English horn, which are placed spatially in the hall to create an antiphonal effect with the orchestra.  The Tibetan bowl and three wind instruments lead this “call to prayer.”

This was the first piece in which I discovered the joy of writing for a Tibetan Singing Bowl.  The antique bowl pictured here was selected for Midnight Prayer and is available to any orchestra performing the piece.  The work is scored for a modest sized orchestra:  2,2,2,2; 2210; 3 perc, harp, strings.   Solo trumpet, English Horn, and trombone are placed spatially in the performance hall. The Tibetan Bowl is played from the stage.

Following are excerpts from various performances:

The opening performed by Peter Jaffe and Stockton Symphony:

Excerpt from Rochester Philharmonic, Christopher Seaman, cond.

Excerpt from Stony Brook Orchestra, David Stern, cond.

Excerpt from Rochester Philharmonic, Christopher Seaman, cond.

Download PDF of score of MIDNIGHT PRAYER


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