The way of the seeker

Written by Larry Sitsky in 2004, The way of the seeker is a highly virtuosic piano work played by Michael Kieran Harvey. It is is based on thematic material derived from fragments of oriental chant.

This disc contains just one 50 minute work in six movements entitled 'The way of the seeker', a new composition by Larry Sitsky.

Judith Crispin describes the work thus in her notes in the CD booklet: "Sitsky's highly virtuosic work for solo piano The Way of the Seeker (completed 11 December 2004) is dedicated to the Canadian pianist and composer Gordon Rumson. This work takes its title from the English translation of Hakim Sanai's mystical text the Sair al-Ibad ila'l Maad (the Way of the Seeker) written in the 11th century. Abul Majd bin Majdud bin Adam, also known as Hakim Sanai, was one of the three great mystical Mathnavi poets of Persia, the others being Shaikh Faridu'd-Din 'Attar and Jalalu'd-Din Rumi. The youngest of these, Jalalu'd-Din Rumi, expressed his great admiration for Attar and Sanai in writing "Attar is the soul and Sanai its two eyes, I came after Sanai and Attar." In the translation of Sanai's Sair al-Ibad ila'l Maad by Idries Shah, the text is divided into definite sections. In The Way of the Seeker, Sitsky follows these divisions, using quotations from each section as subtitles for each of the six musical movements. Each movement should be understood as a meditation on its corresponding quotation.

I: Prologue ... pp ... you are not of water, yet stir into movement, not of earth, yet lend it shape.

II: Birth ... mf ... there is in the soul an intuition of a superior state.

III: The Guide ... p ... for your journey on this arduous path, your only provision will be fire ...

IV: The Journey ... f ... you are prey to evil delusions.

V: Beyond Time ... ff ... pay the ferryman his fare, and leave behind the world of names ...

VI: Epilogue: The Man of Light ... pp ... the distractions from The Way are many in your world ...

Written in the tradition of Liszt, Busoni, Godowsky and Scriabin, The Way of the Seeker also responds to Sitsky's western musical heritage. A student of the virtuoso pianist and Busoni disciple Egon Petri, Sitsky was initiated into an esoteric understanding of composition that has persisted throughout his entire creative output. Like many of Sitsky's pieces, The Way of The Seeker begins in darkness; the first movement is all in a low register, and ends in light; in this case the Epilogue is quite literally entitled "The Man of Light". This emergence from darkness into light is a recurrent theme in those of Sitsky's pieces that document the various stages of the mystical journey. In this regard The Way of The Seeker can be regarded as a close relative of Sitsky's Twelve Mystical Preludes after the Nuctemeron of Apollonius of Tyana (1991). In composing The Way of The Seeker, Sitsky intended to generate a largescale virtuosic work from as few pre-compositional determinants as possible. Each of the six movements is assigned a predominant dynamic, but the shaping of these dynamics inside each section is left to the performer. The durations of the movements telescope over the length of the work." - Judith Crispin

Artist

Michael Kieran Harvey

Michael Kieran Harvey is one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary piano music of his generation. A champion of Australian music and himself a composer, he regularly commissions new Australian music and has performed with Australia's leading contemporary music ensembles and orchestras.


Press quotes

“Rhapsodic! Hugely ambitious! This is Larry Sitsky's State of the Union address. I'm terribly impressed. The piece has a massive architecture, and yet never a sense of gradiosity ... there's always a through line. Michael Kieran Harvey is in scintillating form ... this is a real meeting of minds. A journey from darkness into light.”

— Martin Buzacott, ABC Radio National - The Music Show

“Michael Kieran Harvey is a super-virtuoso and musician of great verve and power. But also, he understands sound in a deep and meaningful way. Listen (to) the rhythmic life of his playing, the care and sensitivity to the very quality of the sound as well as the shape and direction of phrases. He can execute a startling number of notes in a very short space of time, evenly and accurately, but always in the service of the music -- and here most crucially -- its inner meaning. His performance of The Way of the Seeker reveals him in total command and filled with creative fire. This is an outstanding artistic achievement for he indeed 'gets it' and his understanding adds significantly to the potency of the composition.”

— Gordon Rumson, Music and Vision website http://www.mvdaily.com/articles/2009/05/sitsky.htm

Audio previews

Track Listing

    The Way of the Seeker Larry Sitsky

  1. Prologue 5:36
  2. Birth 12:22
  3. The Guide 12:18
  4. The Journey 8:26
  5. Beyond Time 4:35
  6. Epilogue: The Man of Light 6:09
  7. Larry Sitsky introduction 5:29

Performers

Composer

Larry Sitsky

Larry Sitsky's activities as a composer, pianist, writer, broadcaster and teacher place him inevitably to the fore among today's ambassadors of contemporary Australian piano music. Through his work to date he has made a significant contribution to the Australian music tradition.


Where to buy

The way of the seeker can be purchased online through Buywell Just Classical or the Australian Music Centre which both offer secure online ordering.

This title is also available in (or can be ordered through) many fine music retailers across Australia, including Thomas’, Discurio and Readings.

Product details

List price
$25.00 AUD
Total playing time
54 minutes 55 seconds
Contributor
Australian Broadcast Corporation
Benjamin Thomas
Judith Crispin
Producer
Brooke Green
Engineer
Veronika Vincze
Editing
Vaughan McAlley
Mastering
Martin Wright
Venue
Hobart Conservatorium
Release date
2006
Copyright
© 2006 Move Records
Phonogram
℗ 2006 Move Records
Categories
Australian, Classical, Keyboard
Catalogue number
MD 3309
Alternate catalogue number
MD3309
Barcode
EAN 9314574330922