What’s a spiritatorio? Composer Hannibal Lokumbe coined the term to describe his recent oratorio, which reflects on science, spirituality, and the human condition. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on One Land, One River, One People, for orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists.
On Sunday, August 7, 2016 on WRTI, listen to a re-broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra performing Hannibal's One Land, One River, One People, in a program that also includes music by Sibelius and Copland.
MUSIC: One Land, One River, One People.
Susan Lewis: The piece began, says Hannibal, when his grandmother’s spirit came to him, pointing to her head, heart, and womb, then holding her hands to the sky...
Hannibal Lokumbe: And then the text started to come…. One land, one river, one people. We’re all beneath the sky. The sky doesn’t shine on a woman more it does on a man, it doesn’t look on a wealthy person more than it looks upon a poor person. It doesn’t look only upon those who follow Islam, or those who follow Christianity.
SL: The work explores the idea of how humans might evolve. Hannibal points to people, he says, reached heightened levels of mental and spiritual evolution - from Beethoven and Coltrane to Einstein, in honor of whom Hannibal created a new instrument - Einstein’s Rattle.
HL: I heard this sound in my head that I equate to the sound of the Earth rotating on its axis. I heard it when I was swimming in the Mediterranean sea. It’s a crackle sound.
SL: Science and spirituality -- both integral to the human experience.
HL: It’s all the same. It’s just like us. We’re different spices, but we’re part of the same bowl of soup made by the same chef.
SL: The title references different aspects of humanity – its physical nature – one land; its blood – one river and its spirituality – one people.