Prayer Cycle

Prayer Cycle

5.0 5
by Jonathan Elias

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Composer Jonathan Elias confronts the death and devastation of wartime with a stunning nine-part choral symphony. Bolstered by a truly awesome lineup of singers -- from the late Qawwal singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to Salif Keita to Linda Ronstadt -- and lyrics…  See more details below


Composer Jonathan Elias confronts the death and devastation of wartime with a stunning nine-part choral symphony. Bolstered by a truly awesome lineup of singers -- from the late Qawwal singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to Salif Keita to Linda Ronstadt -- and lyrics that appeal for mercy and strength, hope and compassion, and faith and forgiveness, THE PRAYER CYCLE is a moving achievement. The English Chamber Orchestra and Choir provides a solid pastoral setting for the stunning soloists. The most surprising contributor here is rocker Alanis Morissette, who belts out Hungarian and French and more than matches the power and passion of Ali Khan and Keita. Other estimable soloists include James Taylor (whose plaintive "Grace" offers the only lyrics in English), Linda Ronstadt (Spanish), Yungchen Lhamo (Tibetan), Martin Tillman (cello), and John Williams (guitar). The chorus and the American Boychoir expand the worldview by singing in German, Latin, Italian, and French. Unfortunately, given the world's continuing conflicts, this music will remain too timely for too long -- but it offers a sublime way to search for faith amid the suffering.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
The Prayer Cycle is a surprisingly spiritual and moving album masterminded by composer Jonathan Elias, featuring an all-star cast culled from the pop, rock, and world music arenas (including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Alanis Morissette, Perry Farrell, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Ofra Haza, Salif Keita, and more). The album is structured as a nine-movement suite, with each movement dedicated to a different spiritual quality. Elias' material elicits passionate, committed performances from the assembled artists, making it a deeply felt statement on bridging cross-cultural differences.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jonathan Elias   Primary Artist
Ofra Haza   Vocals
Salif Keita   Vocals
Linda Ronstadt   Vocals
James Taylor   Vocals
American Boychoir   Children's Chorus
John Williams [guitar]   Guitar
Liz Constantine   Chant
English Chamber Choir   Choir, Chorus
English Chamber Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Perry Farrell   Chant
Ethan James   Hurdy-Gurdy
Martin Tillman   Cello
Alanis Morissette   Vocals
Yungchen Lhamo   Vocals
Devin Provenzano   Vocals
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan   Vocals
Richard Bona   Vocals
Mah Damba   Vocals
John Williams & the Tick Tocks   Guitar
Lawrence Schwartz   Conductor

Technical Credits

Josh Abbey   Engineer
Larry Alexander   Engineer
Jim Brady   Engineer
Jonathan Elias   Producer,Liner Notes,Text
John Richards   Engineer
Mark Rogers   Engineer
Mike Ross-Trevor   Engineer
Gustavo Santaolalla   Text Translation
John Luard Timperley   Engineer
David Tobocman   Engineer
Alanis Morissette   Text Translation
Michael Sherwood   Composer
Giulio Turturro   Art Direction
Matt Mahurin   Illustrations
Genevieve Haines   Liner Note Translation
Mark Fergesen   Engineer
Cooper & the Soul Rockers   Engineer
Bill Airey Smith   Engineer
David Gold   Engineer
Jonathan Allen   Engineer
Walt Vincent   Producer,Engineer
Tim Sund   Liner Note Translation
Walt Vincent   Producer,Engineer
Bill Kannengiser   Guitar Arrangements
Kenneth Shiffrin   Executive Producer
Cooper   Engineer
Clay Williams   Cover Development
Bill Smith   Engineer
Chuck Bennett   Cover Development

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The Prayer Cycle 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was stunning. just listening to it for the first time left me shaking inside in total awe. brought me down to my knees and praying along. lovely -- no matter what religion you have
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is truly music for the soul. I originally heard a track on Alanis Morissette's website, and had to hear the rest of it. The whole CD is amazing, and touches one in a manner sorely lacking from most music these days regardless of artist. This ranks with Enya, Clannad and other musicians/groups/compilations as something both soulful and heartfelt. Especially with the events of the past few months in NY, PA and DC, one cannot help but feel for ths loss, and for those who will continue to die for man's pride.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this CD while browsing through a used CD bin at a local music shop. For some reason I paused when I saw the cover, and I picked it up for a closer look. After seeing the artist grouping, I purchased it without hesitation. Probably the best 8 bucks I ever spent-- the music is absolutely lush and the lyrics powerful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this when it first came out. Fell in love with the music and the artists offerings! Lost my job and the CD is misplaced. After 2 years, I am still longing to hear it again. Forgot title, remembered only the composer's first name. Entered first name on Google, and all the composers with the first name Jonathan came up. Remembered 'Elias' as soon as I saw it. Am ordering it again today! Even tho' it is classical - some of the tracks remind me of the wailing sound of the Moody Blues. I love the wailing. It goes deep into my soul. I'm so happy I found it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Every now and then, along comes a piece of music that truly moves me. Even more seldom, along comes a piece of music that makes the musician in me sit up and take notice. Jonathan Elias' "The Prayer Cycle" has done both. "Prayer Cycle" is a choral symphony in nine movements, but it is also a piece of world music. The English Chamber Orchestra and Chorus is joined by a stellar array of vocal solo talents. Distinctive western voices such as Alanis Morissette, James Taylor, and Linda Ronstadt are joined by equally distinctive eastern vocalists like Israeli Ofra Haza, Tibetan Yungchen Lhamo, Pakistani Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Salif Keita of Mali. Sadly, Ali Khan and Haza (one of my favorite vocal talents) passed away shortly after the production of this recording, leaving this performance as one of their last collaborations. It is a fitting memorial to two great voices. Elias' music itself is a wonder. It is both ethereal and earthly, filled with slow ostinato and vibrant treble tones, and it fulfills its title by quietly guiding the ear and mind to a place of introspection, meditation, and revelation. The mix of languages lets us concentrate on the timbre of each voice, from Ronstadt's lyrical soprano to Morisette's anguished and near-tribal clarity, from Ali Khan's woody tenor to Yungchen's flute-like descant. The music is not thematic, but atmospheric, providing no melodies to hum after hearing the piece. Rather, each movement provides a distinct sphere of serenity in which we can slow down, listen, and enjoy the tug and play of the music.