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Here was a very special ritual completely without a sense of striving, and promising no rewards. You wandered about amused and amazed, never sure whether you were there to be entertained or entertaining for the moment you won a balloon or lost your money while upside down on a sky ride, you became an actor, watched by others and excited by their watching.
Patria (Latin for 'homeland') is composer R. Murray Schafer's life's work, a cycle of ten related music dramas created and performed over the last thirty years. Each play in the cycle has a common theme the search of two lovers for one another through the many labyrinths of life on Earth. Though many of the same characters reappear in different sections, the scale of the cycle is vast, unfolding across many cultures and drawing extensively from numerous world mythologies. Many of these works are conceived for performance in unusual environments: on the surface of a lake, deep in a forest or even in a deserted mine. Some begin at dawn, sunset or midnight and some last for as long as a week.
This new, definitive edition of Patria contains all ten parts of the cycle, plus photos, pages from the scores (complex visual artworks in their own right), commentary on the performance of the pieces and Schafer's personal essays on aestheticism. In these remarkable works, the arts court one another: theatre meets ritual, mythology fuses with art, and the line between performer and audience blurs.