Breathless - Cantata on Ancient Mystical Texts


Print Edition Price: 

$30.00 score
$28.50 set of 5 parts

Year Authored (or revised): 



soprano (and/or mezzo-soprano), 'cello, and guitar quartet (plus optional 5-voice "madrigal" group)

Duration (min): 


Text Source/Author: 

Fakhruddin Iraqi (Sufi; 1211-1289); Sisupacala (Buddhist; 6th century B.C.); Lao-Tsu (Taoist; 604-570 B.C.); Mechthild of Magdeburg (Beguine Christian; 1207-1294); Quasmuna (Jewish; Granada; 11th c.); Teresa of Avila (Catholic Christian; 1515-1582); Kabir (Hindu/Sikh/Sufi; 1440-1518) - set in free translations by the composer.

First Performance: 

June 2, 4, 6, 2016 in Kharkov, Zhitomir, and Kiev [Ukraine] - by Anna Bychkova, Viktor Rekalo, and the Kharkov Guitar Quartet (Sergey Gorkusha, Maxim Trianov, Irina Polovinka, Andrey Bragin)

I – Fakhruddin Iraqi (Sufi; 1211-1289) – O minstrel… [Introduction]
II – Sisupacala (Buddhist; 6th century B.C.) – On fire is all the world
III – Lao-Tsu (Taoist; 604-570 B.C.) – Touch ultimate emptiness [Introduction]
IV – Mechthild of Magdeburg (Beguine Christian; 1207-1294) – Set me afire
V – Quasmuna (Jewish; Granada; 11th c.) – Gazelle in my Garden
VI – Teresa of Avila (Catholic Christian; 1515-1582) – My Beloved
VII – Kabir (Hindu/Sikh/Sufi; 1440-1518) – This is the music [Recitative & Finale]

Ensemble Type: 

solo voice(s)+2 to 6 instruments
Instrumentalist(s) speak or perform text

Composer's note: This seven-part cantata - commissioned in 2012 by the Kharkov Guitar Quartet - consists of settings of mystical texts from devotees of various world spiritual traditions; including Buddhism, Christianity (2), Hinduism, Judaism, Sufism, and Taoism.

The cantata should be performed in its entirety. However --- Two of its sections are published separately: "O minstrel..." (voice & 1 guitar) and "Gazelle in My Garden" (voice & 2 guitars) and may be performed individually, apart from the cantata. The other five parts may not be extracted for separate performance.

The vocal ensemble sections in Parts VI & VII are intended to be sung by the instrumentalists themselves, but it my be desirable/preferable to substitute a group of trained singers instead.

Richard Cameron-Wolfe "Breathless"

Internal Fields


guitar acoustic classical
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