Passion

Released 4th June, 1989

“Stirring, stunning stuff [from] an artist who remains idiosyncratic without being obtuse” – Rolling Stone

Peter at Real World Studios, during the making of Passion.

Released a year after Martin Scorsese’s controversy-laden film first hit the big screen in 1988, Passion tends to be regarded as a work in its own right rather than just being a movie soundtrack. It features additional music than was included in the film; this extra material was the result of Peter continuing to record and to resolve “unfinished ideas”, hence the later arrival of the record.

“In my research for Passion, many people mentioned the wonderful resources of the National Sound Archive and in particular introduced me to Lucy Duran, who both understood what I was hoping to achieve and made lots of great suggestions. Scorsese had asked for a new type of score that was neither ancient nor modern, that was not a pastiche but had clear references to the region, traditions and atmospheres, but was in itself a living thing.”

Photo by Mario Tursi, used courtesy of Universal Pictures

Built on a foundation of Middle Eastern and North African rhythms and melodies, Passion is unsurprisingly Peter’s most spiritual work, no more so than when the alternately ascending voices of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Youssou N’Dour and himself interweave on the title track. Nusrat and Youssou are far from the only notable guests; the cross-continental gathering of musicians also includes Senegalese griot Baaba Maal, jazz drummer Bill Cobham and avant-garde trumpeter Jon Hassell among many others.

Photo by Mario Tursi, used courtesy of Universal Pictures

The very first release on Peter’s just-launched Real World label, Passion provided some instant success for the new enterprise when it was awarded a Grammy. A subsequent album that was released a few months later, Passion – Sources, while not featuring Peter as a musician, revealed the music, sources and inspiration that went into the soundtrack.

“This was one of the most important records for me – an opportunity as a writer to try to do a different sort of job than I usually do. The brief for The Last Temptation Of Christ was to create something that had references to that time and that part of the world, but that had its own character and was to be timeless in a way.

“After we finished mixing the film, there were some unfinished ideas that needed developing and I took some extra time to complete the record. There are several pieces that were not able to be included in the film and I felt the record should be able to stand as a separate body of work. I chose the film’s working title – Passion.”

Photo by Mario Tursi, used courtesy of Universal Pictures

We recorded some of the finest singers and soloists in the field of world music and set the score on a backdrop of traditional North African rhythms and sounds. It was a wonderful experience working with such different and idiosyncratic musicians.

As a companion release to Passion, Peter also compiled an album entitled Passion Sources, which represents a selection of traditional music, sources of inspiration and location recordings that relate to, and fed into, the creation of the Passion album.