Past Events


16:00 h

Master class Robert Saxton

Conservatorium van Amsterdam, room 734, Amsterdam (NL)


16.00-18.00: Master Class Robert Saxton

Saxton - Prayer before Sleep,
with Nienke Otten (soprano) and Verena Zauner ('cello).


The composer

Having been a lecturer at Bristol University and Head of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and The Royal Academy of Music respectively, Prof. Robert Saxton (born in 1953) is currently Professor of Composition at Oxford University. He was an undergraduate at Cambridge, a postgraduate at Oxford and a pupil of, amongst others, Luciano Berio. In 1975 he was awarded first prize at the International Gaudeamus Festival in Holland. His works have been performed and recorded by Leon Fleischer, Mstislav Rostropovich, Steven Isserlis and many other musicians.

The music

Prayer before Sleep was written in 1997 in memory of Rabbi Hugo Gryn. It was first performed on 8th December 1997 at the Barbican Centre, London, by Teresa Cahill (soprano), Raphael Wallfisch ('cello) and John York (piano).


2nd movement:

O, wing your way to freedom,
Sun-high, fleeting, light-enhanced,
Through blue-white radiance,
Empowered by faith and love,
To climb, soar and rise again.

O, sing your way to heaven,
Now re-born and outside time,
without duration or division;
Let out your cry of glory
As the morning light enfolds you
when, released from earth's pull,
You may sing, dance, dance and sing;
Your being, earth-freed, now unbound,
will praise the universe in sound.

Robert Saxton, 1997

4th movement:


Blessed are You, Lord our God, king 
of the universe, who weigh down my
eyes with bonds of sleep and
my eyelids with slumber.

Give light to my eyes lest I sink into
the sleep of death, for it is You who
illuminate the pupil of the eye Blessed
are You, O Lord, whose glory illumi-
nates all the world.

poem from the Talmud, trans. T. Carmi