If spring is the season of hope, then it is fitting that in the spring of 1999, Sony Classical released an album by New York composer JONATHAN ELIAS, titled THE PRAYER CYCLE. This week we devote the entirety of this 25th Anniversary retrospective transmission of Hearts of Space to this extraordinary recording, which sums up several of the key artistic directions of the program in classical, world, ambient, electronic and vocal music — in a single piece.
JONATHAN ELIAS is best known for his work as a composer of music for television commercials and feature films. But nothing in his resume would have hinted at the scope or the depth of this project, which Elias undertook in the period immediately before the birth of his first child.
"I was excited by the possibilities for my child," he says, "but I also felt anxiety and sadness about the world she was about to enter. With all the wondrous advances of mankind, it was painful to acknowledge the other defining characteristic of the 20th century, which is more calculated and cold-blooded than any other period of recorded history. Is man's inhumanity to man as common in our nature as other forms of survival?
With these thoughts and concerns, I began to write 'The Prayer Cycle.'" The effect of this brilliant multi-cultural, multi-language production is powerfully moving and very appropriate to the underlying message: "Prayer," says composer Elias," is what we turn to when the only thing we have left...is hope."
THE PRAYER CYCLE... a eulogy for the 20th century... and a prayer for the 21st...on this 25th Anniversary edition of Hearts of Space.