The Buddhist way on internet radio

'Meaningful dialogues between religions is no doubt one of the most pressing challenges of the modern world. Developments over the past few years clearly confirm what a significant role this aspect of human communication represents. Despite breathtaking technological breakthroughs and the related trend of rational scepticism, man still remains a religous creature. Ignoring this sphere of human personality not only leads to an impoverishment of the spiritual culture of a nation, but also to mutual estrangement of nations. And so what a wonderfully enriching experience it is when two cultures meet in mutual dialogue rather than confrontation.'

These words introduce the inspiring new CD Close Voices from Far-away released by Sony in the Czech Republic. The mutual dialogue is provided by the Buddhist monks of Gyosan-ryu Tendai Shomyo from Japan and the Schola Gregoriana Pragensis from Prague, who are seen together in my footer image. The CD was recorded in a former Augustian monastery in České Lípě in November 2006, and was the brainchild of the Schola's founder David Eben.

Close Voices from Far-away is both a moving musical experience and a remarkable work of scholarship. Sources and editions are listed, and the comprehensive documentation includes short essays on the Shomyo Chants, the Buddhist Liturgy, the Tendai school of chant (Gyosan-ry Tendai Shomyo) as well as Gregorian Chant.

Hearing the two vocal groups individually is a privilege. But hearing the two ensembles singing together and layering Buddhist and Greorian Chant on two of the tracks takes us into a unique sound-world that is more contemporary than medieval. Read a fuller appreciation of this remarkable release here. Close Voices from Far-away is not easily found outside the Czech Republic. I bought my copy online from who provided a very fast and problem free service. Here is a link to the CD on their site.

I will be playing music from Close Voices from Far-away on my Future Radio programme this Sunday December 2 at 5.00pm UK time. The Buddhist and Gregorian Chants will be interleaved with music from Philip Glass' score for Kundun. This film by Martin Scorsese depicts the exile of the 14th Dalai Lama from Tibet. Both Close Voices from Far-away and Kundun are vivid reminders of the Buddhist culture that is under continued threat from the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Now follow the Buddhist way with Lou Harrison. And remember that at 12.01am UK time Wednesday December 5 Future Radio is giving the world broadcast premiere of Alvin Curran's complete Inner Cities, with an introduction from pianist Daan Vandewalle. Full details of this webcast here.
Listen by launching the Radeo internet player from the right side-bar, or via the audio stream. Convert broadcast times to your local time zone using this link. Windows Media Player doesn't like the audio stream very much and takes ages to buffer. WinAmp or iTunes handle it best. Unfortunately the royalty license doesn't permit on-demand replay, so you have to listen in real time. If you are in the Norwich, UK area tune to 96.9FM. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


Pliable said…
A side path here that has echoes of the recent posts about Belgium.

This region is still, wrongly, referred to as Czechoslovakia.

Following the collapse of Soviet authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution." On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Czech Republic, which includes Prague, is, together with Estonia, one of the most non-religious countries in the European Union. The 2001 census recorded that 59% of the country were non-believers.

Slovakia is more God-fearing. 70% are Roman Catholic, and 11% Protestant.
Keith said…

The link to is dumping me onto the front page and I can't find the CD you review here.

Nice concept.
Pliable said…
Keith, you are right. I had the devil's own job finding it again on, I couldn't even track it back from my order!

Finally I did. The link is below, and I've also modified the link in the article. Thanks for pointing out the problem.

As I said the delivery was fast, the order and payment pages are In English. It all works, when you find the CD!

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