• John Tavener
  • Pratirúpa (2003)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • Piano
  • 20 min

Programme Note

Pratirúpa in Sanskrit means ‘Reflection’. This longest work so far for solo piano presents a series of self-reflecting resonances, harmonies, melodies and rhythms, so that the music becomes as it were ‘the pupil of the ear,’ instead of ‘the pupil of the eye.’ Traditionally it is by looking at the ‘pupil of the eye’ in another that one can see the most perfect, the most God-like aspect, indeed one can see ATMA – the SELF, which is none other, according to the Upanisheds than the Infinite – BRAHMA.

In musical terms therefore, I listen to a sound, the most perfect sound, like a late Mozart Quintet, of a sacred Samavedic rhythm, and then by the very act of ‘listening’ with my ear, the sound will change ‘alchemically’, and hopefully produce a music that is quite literally ‘the ear of the ear,’ that inward ear which is at the same time as eternal sound. However, this, I should stress is only the intention in this rather spiritually ambition piece!

Of course, Pratirúpa can be simply listened to as a piece of piano music but I thought that the ‘metaphysical subject’ which lies at the heart of it should be explained, and indeed may assist the listener.

JT Feb 22nd 2003


Pratirupa (version for piano)


Score sample