Pēteris Vasks: The Fruit of Silence
Pēteris Vasks composed the haunting choral work, The Fruit of Silence in 2013. Commissioned by the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the piece was premiered in 2013 at the event. Based on the words of Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu, also known more commonly as Mother Teresa, this poignant choral piece is becoming a staple for choirs around the world.
The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.
Described by the composer as a “very silent meditation”, The Fruit of Silence takes the five lines of text from Mother Teresa and imagines them in the modern day. Vasks uses his own unique point of view to create a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere that slowly develops over the course of the piece. Opening the piece is a solo piano, whose elongated opening statement leaves the listener on tenterhooks as to when the voices will enter.
The mixing of the voices paired with Vasks’s dissonant harmonic language creates such a special effect across the ensemble. The nuanced changes adds to the ever-growing main theme of this piece. The simplicity of the words and constant repetition of ‘The Fruit’ adds an interesting twist on the music. The horizontal accompaniment adds more harmonically than as an accompaniment, with the slow arpeggio movement adding a glistening effect to the voices. As it begins, The Fruit of Silence ends with the piano having the final word.
Ⓒ Alex Burns
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