Brilliant Toni, Love your dreams and spirit , goose bumps on this Concert!
Humans face growing social isolation paradoxically during an era of technological hyper-connectedness. In the UK alone, more than 9 million people report feeling often or always lonely according to a 2017 report by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. Simultaneously, modernization and progress have raised our living standards to the highest in human history, yet recent studies show that rates of anxiety and depression are reaching epidemic levels, especially in the Western world. Composer Toni Castells explores these paradoxes of modern times through his composition ‘Hhumann X’, an exploration of isolation and mental illness in our world and in our time. The high soprano – using invented language and singing at the top of her register where she feels most uncomfortable – embodies this isolation from her immediate context of the ensemble. The Eastern sounds of the Persian soprano establish not only a bridge to a different culture but also a bridge through which the high soprano can reach the choir. The direct experience of the power of that community shows her a way out of her isolation. The piece is, therefore, a call to build bridges, bridges between us as a way to overcome social isolation but also bridges within ourselves, connecting with our true nature and purpose. ‘Do you know what you are?’ is the key question the composer asks throughout this piece. The Eastern influences of the piece appear twice more examining this question. First in the form of the Hindu mantra ‘Soham’, which is sung by all voices at the climax of the piece. ‘Soham’ translates from Sanskrit to ‘I am That’, identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality. And second with the words of the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi that, despite coming from a distant time and place, remain timely.