Resonating powerfully in our time, the biblical story of the tower of Babel reminds us of the futility of human efforts to pierce the heavens and our difficulties in being understood across multiple languages. Musicians know all too well how imperfect their search for the numinous is, and that the search will always be ongoing. In attempting to evoke something beyond physical reality, the multiplicity of musical languages is only ever going to increase.

Jacob Mühlrad

So, how does a young Swedish composer, raised in the Jewish faith, but now a non-believer, try to connect with the spiritual? Jacob Mühlrad has constructed his own musical tower of Babel in Time , in which the title word appears in 104 different languages. Melding these words together, Mühlrad has created something of a musical lava lamp in which various colours coalesce and then recede. Expanding and collapsing choral textures attest to human yearning.

The other three works here overtly explore Mühlrad’s Jewish history. Arguably the most successful is Kaddish , in which the composer engages with his family history, using texts by his grandfather, a...

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