This song for mezzo soprano, piano and violin was originally the fifth movement of my oratorio, eponymously titled This Love Between Us. The text comes from a variety of translations of ancient saint-poet Kabir’s writings, and from the Isa Upanishad.
The original version starts and ends with a duet. The violin line was originally another singer, singing the same words in the original Hindi and Sanskrit. The duet is between a man and woman, singing to one another from far across the stage — which, in that moment of ethereal quiet, feels as if they are singing across time and space. I loved the message in these texts: Our love, our human connection, goes back so far in time. It is our very foundation. To recognize ourselves in one another is truly to remember that connection. We may squabble, but ultimately — we survive together. Or not at all.
I made this arrangement for my husband, as a gift we could play together. The moment he read the text of the piece, his jaw dropped: one of the last lines of the movement was tattooed, in Sanskrit, on his wrist. How often we looked for one another while sitting in the next seat, shoulder to shoulder. We premiered this version of the piece a few years later, on our wedding day.
Here is the original version, for orchestra, choir and soloists:
Kabir and the Upanishads
This piece was premiered on February 16, 2020 by Amy Fogerson, Vijay Gupta and Reena Esmail, at the home of Barry and Sandy Pressman, in Beverly Hills, CA.