The Drop That Contained the Sea is a collection of works on the theme of water. Each of the 10 pieces is sung in a different language, exploring a different vocal tradition: Bulgarian women's choirs, Mongolian throat singing, and Portuguese fado, to name just a few. Each piece also deals with water in a different form, arranged in the order that water flows through the world: melting snow, mountain streams, rivers, the ocean, and so forth. And like Calling All Dawns, the end of the album flows back into the beginning, reflecting the endless nature of the water cycle.
The title of The Drop That Contained the Sea comes from a Sufi concept: in the same way that every drop of water contains the essence of the sea, inside every human is the essence of all of humanity. In keeping with this idea I've introduced a water theme in the prelude, and woven subtle variations throughout the album. It contains all seven notes of a major scale-four descending and three ascending-mirroring the flow of water through our world, and representing the vast ocean of melodic possibility contained within a single scale.
The album features an all-star collection of international classical and world music artists, including Soweto Gospel Choir, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Dulce Pontes, Anonymous 4, Schola Cantorum, Kardes Türküler, Nominjin, Roopa Mahadevan, Angel City Chorale, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by Christopher Tin).
The Drop That Contained the Sea was given its world premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY on April 13, 2014, by the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Choir, conducted by Jonathan Griffith. The European premiere was given at the York Barbican in York, UK on July 16, 2016, by the Mowbray Orchestra and Angel City Chorale and Prima Vocal Ensembles, conducted by Christopher Tin.