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The Emerald Tablet for string quartet and vocal quartet: a recording of this new musical setting of the mystic Hermetic Alchemy text.
The Emerald Tablet for string quartet and vocal quartet: a recording of this new musical setting of the mystic Hermetic Alchemy text.
36 backers pledged $2,332 to help bring this project to life.

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According to legend The Emerald Tablet was discovered in a vault below the statue of the god Hermes. The text is said to contain the secrets of alchemy imparted by Hermes Trismegistus, master of Hermetic magic and wisdom.

Psychologist Carl Jung encountered the tablet in a dream. Physicist Isaac Newton translated it from Latin to English in his alchemy notebooks. Modern mystery schools have held its message as a key to spiritual transformation and manifestation of the Great Work.

This classic text has now been set to energetic, inspiring music. Described as "one of Oregon’s most vital creative artists," Christopher Corbell is a Portland composer and poet who has written and produced original opera and vocal music with his independent troupe Cult of Orpheus.

“The Emerald Tablet is an example of a sacred text that, instead of focusing on sorrow or separation from the divine, embraces the evolutionary nature of the human spirit and the miraculous energy that manifests all things.” — composer C. Corbell

The music, written in twelve movements for four singers and string quartet, evokes an eclectic mix of baroque, medieval, and folk influences that give it both the mystic power of a mass and the intimate playfulness of a troubadour’s song.

The music was first performed in November 2017 in Portland, Oregon. Oregon ArtsWatch described the Emerald Tablet premiere concert as “one of the high points of the fall music season.”

We now want to share this wonderful music with you, with the world, and with posterity! Every dollar of our goal will go toward compensation of the musicians who will be rehearsing and performing on the professional recording of this work.

A recent "Emerald Tablet" vocal rehearsal
A recent "Emerald Tablet" vocal rehearsal

The singers include leading performers from the local independent opera scene, featuring soprano Jocelyn Claire Thomas (co-founder of Ping and Woof Opera) and mezzo-soprano Sadie Gregg (managing diva of Portland's Opera on Tap chapter).

If we exceed our Kickstarter goal, the additional funds will help us record the rest of our planned full-length album, and may also help cover sound engineering, product design, promotion, expenses for the June 23 record release concert, and manufacturing costs for the physical product. Anything donated beyond that will be devoted to ongoing Cult of Orpheus productions.

Thank you for helping us share this beautiful music and its timeless message of spiritual alchemy!

Risks and challenges

Because we are working with eight musicians who all have busy professional schedules, there is always a risk that a musician illness or conflict could delay recording or impact quality and require a do-over. However this is already built into our schedule, which will permit rescheduling of recording sessions over the course of a few weeks after the initial sessions as needed, so we fully expect to meet our goal of releasing The Emerald Tablet recording by the target date of June 23, 2018.

The Emerald Tablet text is an original translation, and the music is original, so legally there is no obstacle to completing this commercial-quality recording. Some of the other pieces planned for the full-length album use text translations that are under copyright, and we currently have tentative approval from the publishers to use those texts. However if for some reason full approval is not granted, it may delay the release of the full Sacred Works I album, but that will not delay the digital release of The Emerald Tablet itself, and we will honor rewards which include the physical album as soon as it does get completed, even if delayed.

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    One Substance

    Digital streaming / download of The Emerald Tablet recording.

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    Philosophy of the Whole World

    Streaming and download of The Emerald Tablet, plus a quality 11 x 17 poster print of The Emerald Tablet text (original translation) with Renaissance alchemy image.

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    Thrice Great

    Digital streaming/download of The Emerald Tablet, a quality 11 x 17 poster print of the text with alchemy image, and a physical copy of the full Sacred Works I album on CD from Cult of Orpheus (also includes other vocal music settings from Sufi, Buddhist, and poetic sources)

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    Myriad Things Emerge

    All rewards above, plus two tickets to the Sacred Works I release concert in Portland on June 23, 2018 in Portland, Oregon, and a Cult of Orpheus T-shirt.

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    Archivist Treasures

    Digital download/streaming, Emerald Tablet 11 x 17 poster with original translation and Renaissance alchemy image, the full Sacred Works I album on CD, a signed musical score (study format, archival paper, comb-bound) of The Emerald Tablet music, and a Cult of Orpheus T-shirt.

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    Small Business Sponsor

    All of the "Myriad Things Emerge" reward, plus a business-card ad in our concert program and online mention / logo graphic / link to your business in our social media feeds, event pages, and website.

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    Cult Initiation

    All of the rewards above, plus two guest passes to every Cult of Orpheus performance for one year (includes August 25 Fifth Anniversary concert, new opera premiere in October 2018, Viva's Holiday album release concert in December 2018, and the private Salon d'Amour event in February 2019).

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    Business Patron

    You get the perks of the Small Business Sponsor but with a 1/2 page program ad instead of business-card-size, and in addition two VIP tickets to all of our events for a year, your business listed as a sponsor of the recording project on the physical CD's printed materials, and prominent placement of your logo on this recording's webpage in perpetuity.

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    Cult Patron

    All of the rewards above, plus a commission for a short vocal music piece (up to 4 minutes) on a poetic or sacred text agreed to by you and the composer, dedicated to your name or a person/event/cause of your choice, delivered as a signed printed score on archival quality paper, and performed on a Cult of Orpheus concert in 2018 or 2019.

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Funding period

- (30 days)