A Journey of Reconciliation

from Emanation of Stones: Reconciliation Symphony

Program notes

The song text provided by Chris Rice is a reflection on the theological perspective of reconciliation, which is regarded as one of the most fundamental visions in Christianity. The piece is scored for SATB chorus with piano accompaniment, actual stones, and sanukite, a Japanese percussion instrument consisting of a set of sonorous stones.

One of the main characteristics of this piece is the use of stones to reflect biblical stone imagery. Real stones used by four choir members can be brought from a particular region(s) desperately seeking reconciliation to reinforce the significance of these places both visually and aurally. This means that each stone representing a different path towards reconciliation can coexist within a piece; they are from different places but connected by a common theme, reconciliation.

Throughout the piece, the sounds of stones and words are combined in various ways. At the beginning of the piece, the stones and sanukite produce a steady pulse, while the vocal parts in canon provide a soft, flowing contour.  The middle of the piece provides sharp contrast by introducing spoken voice in the manner of rap music, along with a rhythmic pattern provided by the stones and sanukite. At the ending, the stones are regularly beaten at the tempo of quarter note = 60, which references the speed of the second hand of the clock. This represents the constancy of time in a long journey towards reconciliation.

It is my hope that the piece allows the audience to envision a continuing path towards reconciliation that has not been seen yet but is hoped for.

JR