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Pieces of Paper. Aspirations of 9/11.
A multimedia theater production directed by Michael Simon Hall. Music by AB
Excerpts from the soundtrack:
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Music was the first love of my life, and I have been fortunate to collaborate with two outstanding musical artists on Pieces of Paper - Matt Haimovitz, one of the world's most admired cellists, and composer and pianist, Anton Batagov. If you are a fan of NPR’s John Schaefer, you have probably heard Anton either live on Soundcheck, or his recordings on New Sounds. Anton is responsible for the beautiful and moving music of compassion that has helped to bring the world of Pieces of Paper to life, and Matt joins him on one particular composition.
Anton has the uncanny ability to read my mind most of the time, and to manifest a concept in musical form overnight. I guess his experience composing several songs weekly for a national television station doesn't hurt. From day one we were on the same wavelength. I feel deeply blessed to have him as a collaborator and friend. He has been a true source of inspiration.
Michael Simon Hall,
It is an honor for me to participate in this project. I feel some special connection with it. I am saying this not just as a composer but as a human being. This project is about the most important thing in this world: about transformation through active compassion.
I am Russian, and the history of my country is a history of sufferings. Millions killed during the Soviet period, thousands became victims of terrorist attacks and other tragic events during the last two decades. We know the taste of pain and loss not from books and TV reports but from our own experience. And I can say: American tragedy is our tragedy. My tragedy. There is no difference, no distance, no nationality.
Compassion. It is not a pathetic word but the essence of life.
I think it would be wrong to look for a safe comfortable place where we can forget about the sufferings of other living beings. There is no such thing as “someone else’s pain”. I never say "I am fine" even when everything in my life is really fine because I feel the sufferings of numberless living beings HERE AND NOW, and it would be strange to say "I am fine". I have no right to say this... I MUST do something to ease their sufferings. It is impossible to be happy if you are not doing anything to make OTHER beings happy. That’s how it works. No matter what our occupation is, no matter who we are, we live to help others. Living just for our own pleasure is a waste of time.
I am trying to use musical language to transmit these feelings. Music is very powerful when it is used not for entertainment but as a tool for spiritual transformation.