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From The Heart of Ra for Viola and Piano

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From The Heart of Ra, a work for viola and piano was commissioned by Sinquefield Charitable Foundation and written for violist Leslie Perna. The work is in six sections each representing how ancient Egyptians though of the soul and its journey in the afterlife. The first part is Ren which is literally your name: it lives for as long as you are remembered, or can be read about on inscriptions, or included in prayers for the ancestors and their achievements. The second is Ba, that which makes each of us unique and different, that which makes us strive and achieve, the motivator but also the hungry elemental force that needs food and sex. The third part Ib is literally the heart, formed from a single drop of clotted blood extracted from your mother's heart at the hour of your conception or birth. By heart, the Egyptians meant not just the organ for pumping blood around your body, but the seat of your soul, the good directing force in your life, searching after truth, peace and harmony. Fourth is Sheut or your shadow, and by extension the other you, as well as being used to describe a statue, a model or a painting of a human. Often the Pharaohs had a shadow box where they kept part of their shadow.
The fifth is Ka, which is that vital essence that makes the difference between the living and the dead, between life and dead meat, between a warm body and cold clay.
The final part is Akh, the transfigured spirit that survived death and mingled with the gods. One source explained that the Akh was only allowed to individuals whose souls were worthy because they were good people in their past lives. This final section utilizes musical scales, which are believed to be used by the ancient Egyptian musicians.
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