The Prayer Cycle
Composed by Jonathan Elias
Performed by Alanis Morissette, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, and more
Need another reason why free downloads are fun? You get to explore and hear music to which you might not otherwise be exposed. I was puttering around in freegal the other day and came across this hidden gem. It was listed in the classical genre, by Alanis Morissette (under A for Alanis, naturally) – so I was intrigued. And for good reason.
I had never heard of this work before, so I Googled it. According to Wikipedia, The Prayer Cycle is a nine movement piece that was originally used in the ABC documentary, The Century. Along with Morissette, it features other big pop names in more classical settings:
I. Mercy (Alanis Morisette)
II. Strength (Richard Bona)
III. Hope (Alanis with The American Boychoir)
IV. Compassion (the now-deceased Nusrat Fatah Ali Khan)
V. Grace (James Taylor)
VI. Innocence (Salif Keita)
VII. Forgiveness (Nusrat)
VIII. Benediction (Linda Ronstadt)
IX. Faith (Alanis and Nusrat)
The piece is sung in twelve languages, but the only bad thing about downloading it is that I cannot find a complete translation of the Elias-penned text anywhere. Maybe that’s good though. Maybe that means I just have to be more Zen about it and simply experience it for what it is without analyzing everything. (That said, if you can find a complete version, please let me know.)
Sometimes such an eclectic collection of artists can come across as cheesy or overly commercial. But this album is everything you want it to be – relaxing, poignant, hopeful, yet powerful and haunting, all at the same time. It’s definately not something you put on to dance around the house to. And I probably wouldn’t recommend it for driving either…you might get too relaxed. But it would be excellent for that quiet, introspective evening in.
Intrigued yet? Well, don’t take my word for it. Log on to freegal yourself (here’s how) and check it out. If you don’t want to download all nine tracks, just listen to the 30 sec. samples to get an idea of what I’m talking about. Since our new limit is 5 songs a week (still better than nothing, folks, let’s be honest), it will take you two weeks to get the whole thing. But, it’s worth it.