In 2012 Nigel Westlake captured Sydney hearts with his poignant and stirring Missa Solis – a requiem for his son Eli that brought tears of grief and hope to the eyes of musicians as well as listeners. Twelve months on, moved by the passionate artistry of singer-songwriter Lior, Westlake approached the Sydney Symphony Orchestra with the idea of a new collaboration.
Together they have created Compassion, a symphony of songs that unites the soulful power of Lior's voice with the radiance and vivid drama of Westlake's orchestral style. Their theme is the wisdom of compassion expressed through ancient writings and timeless music. Poetic, beautiful and rewarding, this unique collaboration celebrates the liberating power of compassion and kindness, that can bring people together across the divides of race and fear.
Compassion draws from the rich worlds of Islam and Judaism to present a collection of profound and poetic insights into the practice of compassion and its ability to transform our relationships as human beings. It offers listeners space and opportunity to reflect on the qualities of mercy and love, and how they can to enrich our lives with meaning, insight, depth and worth.
Excerpts from Nigel Westlake’s comments in the liner notes:
“Compassion inhabits a vast array of emotions and colours, at times pulsating and riotous, at others reflective and textural, and draws upon the myriad influences the two of us have been able to bring to the table from our incredibly diverse backgrounds… Weaving my orchestration around Lior’s voice was a little like writing a movie score, the vocal part an intractable dramatic narrative, the orchestral accompaniment a fluid underscore replete with abundant possibilities.”
Excerpts from Lior's comments in the liner notes:
“The research that eventually led me to the texts threaded through Compassion took me far and wide, from conversations with religious leaders and linguists, to regular consultations with my good friend Waleed Aly, who took me through the finer details of Arabic pronunciation and the subtleties of the Arabic texts.
“Being a fluent Hebrew speaker, I initially thought that singing some of the texts in Arabic would feel foreign and disingenuous, yet to my surprise, many of the words I encountered were common to both languages. It became clear in learning these texts that these two languages shared a deep and common source. Just as experience often validates the existence of a well-worn cliché, it is difficult to escape the analogy of two brothers starting from a common source and branching out to gather their own rich experience and identity to become what we now know as modern Hebrew and Arabic.”