The Sanskrit word Pratirùpa means ‘reflection’. This, my longest work so far for piano, presents a series of self-reflecting resonances, harmonies, melodies and rhythms, which attempt to reflect the Divine Presence which resides in every human being.
Tradition tells us that by looking at the pupil of the eye in another person, one can see the most ‘perfect’, the most ‘God-like’ part of that person. Translating this into musical terms, I listen to some of the most perfect sounds I know, such as a Mozart sequence or an ancient sacred Samavedic Rhythm, and as I hear these sublime sounds the music seems to change, reflect and mirror. In a similar way, in Pratirùpa, the resonances of the Piano are picked up by the Strings, and they in turn ‘reflect’ and ‘mirror’ what the Piano is playing. The Piano, therefore, is the ‘pupil’ of the ear and the strings are the listener.
There is no ‘argument’ in this music, only contemplation, which leads in the end to a somewhat ecstatic state, as the piano and string resonances ‘die to themselves’.
© John Tavener