Nick Cave/ Nicholas Lens - L.I.T.A.N.I.E.S

Nick Cave/ Nicholas Lens - L.I.T.A.N.I.E.S

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Having collaborated on Shell Shock in 2014, they joined forces again during the lockdown to create this new work. Memories of the magical stillness and of the inner peace that Lens experienced while visiting the Rinzai Zen temples in rural Japan, were the initial inspiration for the minimalistic, at times trance-like music of L.I.T.A.N.I.E.S, which features artists such as Denzil Delaere, Claron McFadden and Lens’s artist daughter Clara-Lane on vocals. The eleven instrumentalists recorded their parts individually in Lens’ home, to respect social distancing guidelines, but there is a clear unity of purpose about the finished opera, a work of gentle beauty. 

There are several things that Belgian composer Nicholas Lens and Australian singer and songwriter Nick Cave have in common, but chief among them is that neither likes to waste time. Very early into the COVID−19 pandemic, both realised that their respective schedules for 2020 were likely to be heavily disrupted. Lens was dismayed to see performances of his operas cancelled right through to the following year, likewise Cave saw an extensive tour of North America and Europe for his band The Bad Seeds put on ice until 2021.

Lens, who stunned international audiences in 2012 with his opera Slow Man, written with the Nobel Prize in Literature-winning novelist J.M. Coetzee, was not used to the sensation of having so much free time. He began to explore his home city of Brussels by bike and eventually the unusually deserted streets and newly clean air reminded him of another place entirely. The sense of peace took him back to a profoundly moving visit he had made to Yamanouchi, Kamakura – a verdant hillside neighbourhood in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan – site of the most ancient and highly treasured Rinzai Zen temples in the world.
He says: “The initial idea for L.I.T.A.N.I.E.S was born in the natural silence that rises from the rainy and vivid green forest that surrounds these 13th-century temples. And because my memory works in musical phrases, writing L.I.T.A.N.I.E.S has become my method of remembering the peace I found while visiting Japan as well.” 


01 Litany of Divine Absence
02 Litany of the First Encounter
03 Litany of Blooming
04 Litany of The Sleeping Dream
05 Litany of The Yearning
06 Litany of Fragmentation
07 Litany of The Forsaken
08 Litany of Gathering Up
09 Litany of Transformation
10 Litany of Godly Love
11 Litany of The Unnamed
12 Litany of Divine Presence