Duration: 13 min.
April 27th, 2018
Butler School of Music at the University of Texas, Austin
Matthew Gillen, guitar
1. At Dawn
2. Noon Prayer
3. Afternoon: With Drive-With Repose
4. Evening Prayer
5. Prayer at the End of the Day
Shared Prayers is a suite of meditations inspired by a particular time and place in the history of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The place was the Iberian Peninsula. The time was called La Convivencia. It was a period in medieval history when the peninsula was under Muslims rule, during which time Christians and Jews were allowed to worship freely. It was also a time where people of all three faiths contributed to the court of the caliphate and a vibrant exchange of ideas was cultivated. This led to great achievements in the arts and advancements in science, mathematics, and medicine. In Shared Prayers, I imagine the faithful of each religion performing their daily prayer traditions: the salat of Islam, the three daily prayers of Judaism, the Catholic Book of Hours. They pray to the same God, with the same sense of devotion, at the same times of day.
I grew up in a less tolerant tradition and time. My childhood, Christian church condemned anyone to hell who didn’t believe their particular ideas on God and salvation. They held a worldview of us-against-them, the “saved” versus the “damned.” As I grew, questioned, and studied, I became fascinated by the shared beliefs and the histories of cultures and religions, including Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. In Shared Prayers, I hope to show that there are more commonalities than differences between people and cultures, whether in large concepts like “God” or in smaller gestures like private devotion.