If you are interested in your choir performing all or part of Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio, please get in touch with Steve (steve ‘at’ stevebanks.info).
TO WATCH THE BEAUTIFUL FILM OF THE EXTRAORDINARY BLUE PEARL WORLD PREMIERE CONCERT ON YOUTUBE CLICK HERE.
“As choral director, I’m always on the lookout for exciting new works for Excelsis to sing. In 2015 we were delighted to perform the world premiere of Karl Jenkins’s The Healer – A Cantata for St Luke. When the London Mozart Players invited Excelsis to perform in the world premiere of ‘Blue Pearl’ I jumped at the chance. ‘Blue Pearl’ is a really exciting challenge for the choir: to bring to life the different styles of music which Steve has used to such great effect to evoke the full compass of our shared human experience: from joy, humour and sexuality to the opening of our hearts in compassion for the inevitable sorrows of being human, to the spiritual mystery we encounter in stillness and silence. ‘Blue Pearl’ is ultimately a wonderful and moving celebration of our shared humanity. I’m sure many other choirs will perform it in the years to come; to be the first is a real treat for Excelsis and for me.” – Rob Lewis, Musical Director, Excelsis Chamber Choir
Performing individual movements, or parts of Blue Pearl
Blue Pearl can obviously be performed in its entirety, but some individual movements, or sequence of movements also work very well on their own – see below for some suggestions.
Instrumental arrangements can also be made of some movements, to suit different choirs, and to fit within a programme with other pieces.
One Mother, One Father – Accapella arrangement
Steve has made an accapella arrangement of One Mother, One Father. To purchase copies of the score, please email Steve (firstname.lastname@example.org). 1-5 copies £3 each. 6-10 copies £2.50 each. More than 10 copies £2 each.
There are more combinations which are possible, but below are a few suggestions which definitely work well. Any of the suggestions below can be added together to form longer combinations.
Evolution 5 (5 mins). Can be performed by itself. A startling movement. Showcase for the orchestra. Humorous role for the choir, coming in just at the last semi-quaver.
Anamnesis (20 mins). Can be performed by itself. The evolution of human consciousness, from primitive – near animal – through rational, to spiritual. Varied musical styles.
Evolution 5 & Anamnesis (25 mins). Takes the audience through the whole of evolution – physical, biological, and human consciousness.
One Mother, One Father (3.3 mins). Works well on its own. A joyful celebration of the unity of the human family. African-influenced style.
Blue Pearl (6.3 mins). Can be performed on its own. Moving evocation and celebration of the unity of the earth, ‘Blue Pearl’. With profound, beautiful spoken introduction by Apollo astronaut, Edgar Mitchell. African-influenced, riff-based style.
One Mother, One Father & Blue Pearl (10 mins). These go well together, both African-influenced musical style, celebrating the unity of the human race, and of the earth.
One Mother, One Father, Blue Pearl & Never Lost, Never Found (12 mins). These are the three movements that end the first half of the full oratorio. In Blue Pearl the earth is speaking, reminding humanity of our unity with the earth. In Never Lost, Never Found the Kosmos speaks, ‘I am’, reminding us of our unity with the Kosmos.
Sex (6.3 mins). Works fine on its own. A celebration of sex as sacred. The movement begins in a humorous vein, becoming powerfully moving and ecstatic, and ending with a beautiful, spiritual acapella ‘chorale’.
Death (5 mins). Can be performed on its own. A powerful, moving exploration of our relationship with death, fading into silence at the end, with the ‘mystical death’.
Sex and Death (12 mins). They go together well.
Be Still (just over 5 mins) is a simple, very peaceful song, invoking a meditative state.
Sex, Death & Be Still (18 mins). Work well together, as they do in the full oratorio.
Call Me By My True Names (6.5 mins). Works very well on its own. Setting of profound poem by Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. A meditation on the interconnectedness, the ‘interbeing’ of humans with one another, with everything, which leads naturally into the opening of our hearts in the wonder and openness of compassion.Let Go (3 mins). This movement works well performed on its own. A vivid, condensed portrayal of the movement from gross to subtle states of consciousness, as in a meditation practice.
Holons (5 mins). Works fine on its own. Describes the four drives of a ‘holon’, and then the 12-part catch describes the ‘holarchy’ from quarks, to atoms to molecules, and so on, through human beings, families, nation states, to the earth, the solar system and the Kosmos. The catch can be performed without the introduction.
Let Go & Holons (8 mins) can be performed as a pair.
The Potter (5 mins) works well on its own. A joyful verse and chorus song; the lyric is a sort of prayer, that we may fulfill our potential in our lives, each of us bringing our unique gifts to our community and the world. Can be performed with the introduction that precedes it.
Each half of Blue Pearl works well on its own, each giving roughly half an evening’s concert. Certain particular movements can be added or taken away from each half without detracting from an overall sequence.