“The sanskrit equivalent for initiation is abhisheka, meaning ‘sprinkle’, ‘pour’, ‘anointment’. And if there is pouring, there must be a vessel into which the pouring can fall. So at last we might really give up all these complications and just allow some space, just give in. This is the moment when abhisheka – sprinkling and pouring – really takes place, because we are open and are really giving up the whole attempt to do anything, giving up all the busyness and overcrowding. Finally we have been forced to really stop properly, which is quite a rare occurrence for us.”
(Taken from Chogyam Trungpa’s Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, from album Nederlands Blazers Ensemble: Zeibekiko, NBECD014).
The composer writes: ”Drafted immediately after reading a book by the Buddhist guru Chögyam Trungpa, Abhisheka was my first-ever attempt at writing music with space in it. Until this piece, practically everything I had written was ultra-caffeinated, fast, full of notes, and murder on performers. But having been (albeit temporarily) inspired by the great truths and peace in Trungpa’s writing, I found myself navigating slower passages of musical time, as well as exploring the microcosm of inner space between the even intervals of our chromatic tuning system.”
Abhisheka by John Psathas was chosen for the list of string quartets in 2000 for ‘IAMIC Sounds of the Year’. The composer has also prepared versions of Abhisheka for mixed chamber ensemble, this version performed by Manos Achalinotopoulos, Vangelis Karipis and Nederlands Blazers Ensemble at Paradiso, in Amsterdam in 2004, and for string orchestra (2008).
Programme note from the New Zealand String Quartet’s 2012 New Zealand at Kings Place concert.
An unusual work combining field recordings of fiddle music played by an Indonesian street-seller of candy-floss (in Indonesian, "arum manis, meaning “sweet aroma”) with a string quartet. The listeners’ ears are charmed by music which passes seamlessly between the tape and the live performers. Composed for the Kronos Quartet, this work was presented at the 1996 International Rostrum of Composers.