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Album Review: Sapient
Steven Chesne
Cover image of the album Sapient by Steven Chesne
Steven Chesne
2017 / Brahmasong Records
74 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Subtitled “A Cantata of Peace,” Steven Chesne’s Sapient is a collection of peace invocations and prayers from all over the world. Chesne spent a year unearthing these ancient words that speak of the oneness of mankind, words that were spoken by Buddha, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Mohammed, the Sikhs, the Hindu, the Jews, the Cheyenne, the Kikuyu, and the Baha’i. Chesne then worked with historians, translators, clergy, monks, gurus, rabbis, imams, scholars, and linguists to study the complexity and depth of the meanings of these sacred writings. Each of the invocations or prayers has its own song, most of which reflect the musical traditions of their origins. Each song is sung or chanted in its original form. It is truly fascinating to discover how similar the prayers and invocations are despite the wide-ranging differences in time and place. I’m sure that’s the whole point of this impressive musical creation - that a quest for peace is a powerful unifying force and that all of humanity needs to come together to make peace a way of life and to understand just how united we could be as human beings.

Sapient translates as “1. wise, possessing or manifesting great wisdom 2. pertaining to the human species (Homo sapiens).” Despite the wide variety of cultures, languages and musical traditions that are represented in the nineteen tracks, the album is very cohesive. I thought it was interesting that in the finale, titled “Nyansapo - The Wisdom Knot,” phrases from all of the traditions are woven together - one on top of another - accompanied by the orchestra.

The CD includes a 24-page booklet that contains the original prayers and invocations as well as translations of each. The many vocalists from around the world who sang on the album are listed at: http://www.chezworks.com/sapient.html.

Steven Chesne has been creating music for the media and concert halls for more than 35 years and has composed the scores for more than 300 episodes of prime-time network television shows. He has scored 17 independent feature films and has composed music in a multitude of genres. In 1993, he was the first person to record an extended symphonic concert work for 80 players using multi-track digital technology.

Sapient is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Recommended!
November 20, 2017
More reviews of Steven Chesne albums
Cover image of the album Threading the Ether by Steven Chesne
with The Luminous World Orchestra
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Cover image of the album Moments from the Life Stories of Strangers Pt. 1 by Steven Chesne
Review by Michael Debbage