“Śūnyatā”, latest work for windband, will be premiered in Tallinn on the 25th of March. The composition will be performed in the new Concert Hall of the Estonian academy of music and theatre by the Police and Boarder Guard Orchestra.
Spring is a hymn to life: animals are emerging from hibernation, days are getting longer, and something is blooming. Apparently, not only flowers blossom in this period. On the 25th of March, in Tallinn, brasses will bloom!
“Tärkav. VaskID“, the name of the concert organized by Sahtist Saali, MTÜ Puhkpillimuusika Koda, EMTA, Police and Boarder Guard Orchestra, means exactly this. ‘Tärkav’ means sprouting in English; the word then indicated sprouting composers, sprouting music, this case also the sprouting field of Estonian wind orchestra music. ‘VaskID’ – the first word means copper which is the material of most of the wind orchestra instruments. At the same time it can be emphasized through the “vask” that wind orchestra actually also contains other materials in contrast to the non-musicians’ (or, sometimes musicians’) stereotypes of a wind orchestra. ‘ID’ can be identity or idea.
Thus the idea of a concert for new windband music, by emerging composers. The concert is the final event of a competition. Six pieces will be performed, but only one will be awarded. Also the audience will have the chance to judge these new works: before the concert, during the break and after the concert, the audience can have a look at all the scores performed on that day.
About the piece
Śūnyatā is a sanscrit word that refers to one of the fundamental concept of Buddhism. This word can be translated as emptiness or voidness.
According to Thanissaro Bhikku:
Emptiness as a quality of dharmas, in the early canons, means simply that one cannot identify them as one’s own self or having anything pertaining to one’s own self… Emptiness as a mental state, in the early canons, means a mode of perception in which one neither adds anything to nor takes anything away from what is present, noting simply, “There is this.” This mode is achieved through a process of intense concentration, coupled with the insight that notes more and more subtle levels of the presence and absence of disturbance.
It can be resumed as the fact that every thing that exists in our world is somehow related to something and the more we try to reach a superior level, the more we get closer to this void, which is the last real nature of reality. The true nature of all phenomena is empty, unlike the hallucination of the ego, which is full.
Full of what?
Full of concepts, expectations, anxiety and projections that have nothing to do with reality. Reality is called emptiness, the opposite of the solid and concrete world imagined by the ego. It is essential to eliminate the wrong conception of the reality of our ego, since it is the root of all suffering. The vision of the ego is false, unrealistic, and is the cause of feeling inferior and insecure.
In Zen Buddism, this concept is often represented with the Ensō (円相), a calligraphic symbol which refer both to the universe and the emptiness (understood as an absolute reality). The piece follow in its structure the shape of this symbol.
The circle may be open or closed. In the former case, the circle is incomplete, allowing for movement and development as well as the perfection of all things. Zen practitioners relate the idea to wabi-sabi, the beauty of imperfection. When the circle is closed, it represents perfection, akin to Plato’s perfect form, the reason why the circle was used for centuries in the construction of cosmological models, see Ptolemy.
The opening could symbolize that this circle is not separated from the rest of things but is part of something bigger.
The piece will be performed by the Estonian Police and Board Orchestra conducted by Sami Ruusuvuori.