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On May 10, 1788, three years before his death, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his Symphony No. 41 in C major K. 551. Coined The Jupiter by the impresario Johann Peter Salmon, it was Mozart’s gift from the heart, despite being steeped in debt and ill. He had received no commission to compose it, his psyche ordering its composition. Its four movements resonate with the passions of his short life: eroticism, strife, grief, over-spending, intimacy, and joy. Yet, there was and is no stopping of his musical voice.

It has been wisely said that a classical composer of great music does not die, but simply becomes music. This, I experienced last night. Mozart’s compelling presence during The Jupiter helped quiet my low mood and led to deeper acceptance of my circumstances—again, the nudge from Precious God.

I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord – Psalm 104: 33-34

These verses taken from the Creation Psalm speak of heart-prayer that is unique, wordless, and intimate: It’s like falling in love within boundless joys replete with scintillating lights—The bliss of colors hushes the soul and invites deeper exploration, but we can’t abide there now. Still to be lived is this life, in all its complexities.

Yet, even now, we can catch glimpses of eternal life that we co-create with our Lover. These sustain us until our transition.

You Tube’s three stanzas of the anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” moved me deeply, its one hundred-year-lyrics still sung in Black Churches, in Black History Month seminars, and other events. The anthem’s vision speaks to those willing to listen: a plea for Liberty to the God of silent tears.

The dismal failure of the Civil War Post-Reconstruction in late nineteenth-century America compelled James Weldon Johnson, lawyer, school administrator, prolific writer, and poet in Jacksonville, Florida, to compose these lyrics. Tears flooded him after listening to his brother’s rendering them in the word-painting technique: the melding of images upon the soulful melody in A flat major, often used in spirituals.

“ Lift Every Voice and Sing” was first presented to honor the1900 visit of educator Booker T. Washington to the Black school, Stanton, where Johnson was principal. Those five hundred singers, many becoming teachers, carried the anthem with them, and taught other classrooms, which, in turn, spread this vision of hope.

In 1919, the NAACP proclaimed, “ Lift Every Voice and Sing” the Black National Anthem of America; it also spirited the1960s Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King.

YouTube carries several versions of this stirring anthem.

Available on Amazon

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