Twin Souls

Barry Truax / Katherine Philips, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rumi, Traditional

  • Year of composition: 1997
  • Duration: 14:02
  • Instrumentation: chorus and stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Cambridge Street Publishing
  • ISWC: T0719984016


Twin Souls consists of two choral arrangements of music from Powers of Two. At different times in different cultures, the image of “twin souls” has captured some of the same symbolism found in the opera, whether expressed as an erotic or spiritual desire for union with an “ideal other.” The concept takes on added significance when it is understood in terms of same-sex relationships, as is lyrically expressed by such writers as the 17th century English poet Katherine Philips (“the matchless Orinda”) in odes to her women friends, or the medieval Sufi mystic Rumi in his passionate praise of the dervish Shams i Tabriz. In our own century, Rilke grappled with the loss of the beloved in his First Duino Elegy, hence a requiem in the first piece for the “too young departed,” whether from AIDS or other causes. In the second piece, the transcendant joy derived from a union with the “divine beloved” is expressed again by Philips and in the east coast aboriginal song We Are The Stars Which Sing. The tape part in the work is derived from resonated breath and singing, as well as Pacific Rim percussion sounds.