You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘music’ tag.

At 6 A.M., I was gentled awake with two inspiring dreams:

A wintry afternoon, its chill tempered by the sun’s warmth, I happen to meet my friend Pat Coughlin. Others joined us for and hugs and stimulating conversation.

A sumptuous banquet honored the Superior General of the Society of the Heart in a large dining room that opened out onto the deck. Hundreds enjoyed gourmet entrees and choice wines, seated around tables with white-starched linens and centerpieces of white roses and trailing ivy. Lively music supported the camaraderie, despite the Superior General’s inability to speak English. I was responsible for all the arrangements.

Deep joy suffused recall of these dreams, again revealing wholeness in my psyche. In both, I was fully present to the experience—No hiding out in defense mechanisms. I was alive and well.

The second dream places me in a servant ‘s role as I tended the needs of the Superior General and her community of which I had been a member for seventeen years. Gone are all my resentments toward them, after decades of seeking their removal—evidence of Higher Power doing for me what I cannot do for myself.

The fruit of dream work continues lightening my experience of old age with its limits. I’m grateful …

A chance listening to a mountain dulcimer and a string orchestra performing Connie Elisor’s Blackberry Winter (1997) quickened my imagination: Succulent blackberries and frigid winds erupted into a honied ache, a puckering of the lips, a twinge of sweetness. What was the composer up to?

In my perception, he used the literary device called juxtaposition in which two dissimilar images are purposely placed together, their resonances morphing into a larger reality. The desired surprise gladdens the listeners/readers.

It might be stretching the meaning of juxtaposition to apply it to persons seeded at birth with life and death, but here goes. Only the wise see mortality in a newborn, but it is there. Only the wise sense our living both in kairos time and chronos time. Only the wise intuit the interplay of spirit and matter as we develop through the decades allotted us.

And I’ve had many. Strange beauty characterizes my spiritual path fraught with rheumatoid arthritis, now damaging my lungs: like an irritant developing seed pearls buried within the soft tissue of a mollusk shell. At times, such rubbing terrifies and sickens; at others, it gentles and assuages: but it must be endured for the emergence of the new Elizabeth.

Such juxtaposition awaits me: the outworn will give way to something totally other.

Put together a man with a humble spirit, who for eight years scrapped brilliant compositions until birthing his distinct voice, tintinnabuli (Latin for “little bells”)—and you will thrill with the Estonian genius of Arov Part. I had such an experience.

His Miserere (1992) presents an awesome response to the Coronavirus pandemic, together with a long look at the specter of death in our stunned psyches. Two liturgical hymns comprise this choral work: the Miserere, the great penitential Psalm 51, and the Sequence Dies Irae, found in the Roman Catholic Mass of the Dead. Part’s intimacy with the living Word of God shimmers in each note of the score.

As the piece opens, five soloists implore repeatedly for mercy, accompanied by woodwinds and percussion. Pregnant pauses for reflection follow, slowly building toward thundering drumrolls: Catastrophe has struck—monumental shuddering follows in its wake. With its resolution, the choir ascends to radiant heights over the deep-throated resonance of the organ, tam-tam, and bell. Then it’s over. Earth knows peace.

We open our eyes and blink, then breathe. Mercy’s sweetness enfolds us within humble silence, until the next wave of grief… and the next theophany—the story of our lives.

 

 

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: