Night Prayer is an extended nocturne, a prayer for protection to the goddess of night. The words are by Glendora J Bowling, a retired medical practitioner and published poet. Here we encounter again the composer’s very personal extended tonality, an ever-shifting harmony that frequently contains simultaneous tonics and subdominants, often coming to rest in unexpected places, like a sudden shaft of light. Melodies are full of his characteristic flattened sixths; textures can be rich in polyphonic elaboration, octave doublings picking out salient strands of the fabric, or they can reduce down to drones and long-held chords that support the bright shards of colour above, Ešenvalds’ beloved solo sopranos (and altos) prominently spotlit. The work begins in stillness and quiet, becoming increasingly dense and restless and reaching a fierce brilliance of ‘elation’ before winding down to the hushed supplication of its opening.
— from notes by Gabriel Jackson © 2011