Towards Silence is both a meditation on the Four States of Being according to the Vedanta, and at the same time a meditation on the for States of Dying. Vaishnavara the Waking State, Taijasa the Dream State, Prajna the Condition of Deep Sleep and Tunja that which is Beyond. The music was inspired by reading Rene Guenon’s masterpiece Man and his Becoming According to the Vedanta. I heard Towards Silence the other day and felt it to be beyond me. It was as if it was a gift that had passed through me. I was given to understand through music something of the nature of death. As Nicholas Kenyon wrote in The Observer “I know of no music that takes us quite so near to the edge of death”. Even though I regard myself as a vessel through which a vision passed, the construction of Towards Silence is very rigorous and the layout of the string quartets and Tibetan Bowl very important. Four string quartets should surround the audience, preferably unseen, and a Tibetan Bowl should sound from a high point every nineteen beats. I have used five revolving ideas which are in themselves 25 not palindromes which start at the shortest but most manifest and complex section Vaishnavara the Waking State. The four states become mathematically longer and less and less manifest, until the final section Tunja – that which is Beyond where the full statements of the twenty five notes are heard but at the limit of audibility and leading finally to Silence.
Soon after writing Towards Silence I came near to death myself, so I feel very close to this music which had so generously prepared me.