Although Silouan’s Song is a work for string orchestra, it still draws its inspiration from a religious text. Father Silouan (1866 – 1938) named in the work's title, was a Russian mystic who lived a life of simplicity and humility, and wrote a series of moving meditations encapsulating the essence of his spirituality. Pärt quotes Silouan’s phrase ‘My soul yearns after the Lord’ as a subtitle for music which in its fervent, impassioned phrases and echoing cloister silences, breathes the inexpressible longing of the devout supplicant. This is instrumental music regulated and inspired by spiritual discipline, and illuminated by liturgical beauty.
Silouan’s Song is dedicated to Archimandritc Sophrony Sakharov, leader of one of two Russian monastic houses in England, and his brethren. Sophrony is both disciple and translator of Father Silouan.
The humble soul lives before God in fear and Iove: in fear, lest it offend God in some way, in Iove for the soul has learned how the Lord loves us... The best thing is to surrender oneself to God and to endure sorrows with hope. The Lord seeing our sorrows never adds more. If sorrows seem to us overwhelming, it means that we have not surrendered ourselves to the divine will.
From the mystical writings of the monk Silouan Translation Rosemary M. Edmonds