“’72 Angels’ is an expansive work for mixed choir and saxophone quartet. It is structured in the form of 72 prelude-evocations and an epilogue: ‘Amen.’ Each prelude sets one of the 72 names derived through an arcane interpretation of Exodus 14:19-21. Angelic beings, spiritual guides, higher energies or messengers are a common theme throughout many belief systems in human history. In addition to the concept of angels shared by the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, there are the Devas and Apsara of Buddhism and Hinduism, the Amesha Spenta, Fravashi and Yazatas of Zoroastrianism, to name a few.
The 72 preludes are interconnected and performed without pauses, creating a continuous composition rather than 72 separate short pieces. Structurally, the work divides into two parts at prelude 36 and in three sections at preludes 24 and 48, representing unity and division: two in one (duality) and three in one (trinity). At these demarcation points, all of the already-introduced names of angels are recited. The piece concludes with Amen, a quiet postlude-meditation.” (Lera Auerbach)