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Ten Sefirot for piano and electronics (2021) (25 minutes)


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Premiere: 9th International Symposium on Music and Sonic Arts: Practices and Theories, Miroslav Spasov (piano & electronics), Middlesex University, London, 23 September 2022. As in many other compositions, my main creative interest in this work is closely related to- and influenced by, the study of cognitive science and anthropology — the parallelism of structures between musical processes on the one hand and the processes of culture-coloured consciousness on the other. In this case, I have made an attempt to bring some ideas stemming from the ancient tradition of Kabbalah (‘reception’ or ‘tradition’ from the school of thought in Jewish mysticism). Its teachings define the inner meaning of the Hebrew Bible through one of the fundamental kabbalistic texts, the Medieval Zohar, which was first published in the 13th century. Kabbalah sees the human soul as mirroring the Divine (after Genesis 1:27, "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them"), and more widely, all creations as reflections of their life source in the Sephirot. The Sephirot are considered revelations of the ‘Creator's Will’ and they should not be understood as ten different "gods" but as ten different ways the one ‘God’ reveals his ‘Will’. Underlying the structural purpose of each of the Sephirot is a hidden motivational force which is understood best by comparison with a corresponding psychological state in human spiritual and cultural experience. As the ten Sephirot are a step-by-step process illuminating the ‘Divine plan’ as it unfolds itself in ‘Creation’, the ‘Infinite Light’ is ‘dispersed’ among this collection of miniatures representing metaphorically an acoustic reflection of that process. I have been driven by the Sephirot’s ‘light refraction’ and used it as a metaphor to develop a musical form consisting of separate short movements based on a simple melodic phrase, each of which originates from the rich folk musical tradition of the Slavic people living in the south-east region of Europe – and predominantly the Balkan peninsula (North Macedonia, southern part of Serbia, Bulgaria and northern parts of Greece). The ‘sonic illumination’ starts from the first of the Sephirot – Keter (above-consciousness) and its five-tone ‘rubato’ song and continues through Hokmah’s (wisdom) slow dance phrase, Bina’s (understanding) rhythmic character, Hesed’s (kindness) lullaby-like motive, Gevurah’s (severity) ‘impressionistic’ mode, Tifferet’s (beauty) tonality-bound traditional phrase, Netzah’s (Eternity) folk dance, Hod’s (Splendour) marching rhythm, Yesod’s (Foundation) ‘elegy’, to the last one – Malkuth’s (Kingship) emotional pathos. The eleventh miniature from this collection, DA’AT (Knowledge of Good and Evil) is the location where all ten Sephirot are united as one — metaphorically represented by the extremely simple melody consisting of three tones in downward motion very common in the folk music from the region described above as well as across many other cultural traditions around the world.


Spasov. (2022). Ten Sefirot for piano and electronics (2021) (25 minutes). (Unpublished)

Publication Date Sep 23, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 16, 2023


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