WHEN MUSIC AND A PRAYER TO THE CREATOR OF THE COSMOS COME TOGETHER, anything can happen! Just try this 9th century Latin prayer of invocation to the Holy Spirit, “Veni, Creator Spiritus!” (Come, Creator Spirit of God!), set to music as the first part of Gustav Mahler’s 8th Symphony. The whole symphony (which plays in the concert hall for between 80 and 90 minutes!) was written in less than two months between June and August 1906. This link is just for the first part of the symphony, which lasts for 25 minutes. Mahler wrote about it: “I saw the whole piece immediately before my eyes, and Read the rest of this entry »
LIVING-ROOM VIDEO #33: “Home”. Here’s a another video of a song I just wrote. The melody has been floating about in my head for years, waiting for the right lyrics, which came yesterday. It is in an open tuning on guitar and straight from the depths of my heart/soul. I hope that it speaks [sings] to you. Here are the lyrics:
Take me home…
take me back where I belong.
You can stay…
but please leave me in this song.
For in you I have found…
that precious thing for which I long. Read the rest of this entry »
LIVING-ROOM VIDEO #32: “Shades of Green”. Here’s a video of a song I wrote yesterday. At the start of the video I’ll tell you a bit about it. [HINT: Big theme — everything has consequences. In this song, big consequences]. Soon, I will upload the article which accompanies this song, entitled “Primal Stream: The Ancient Roots of Gender-Bending”. Here are the full lyrics:
Spread before him was a garden;
colour green floods through his eyes.
Nothing yet that needed pardon;
rather, he’s strangely naïve, not wise. Read the rest of this entry »
I KNOW MOST OF YOU PROBABLY DO NOT HAVE THE TIME to listen to a complete Mahler symphony (lasting between 1 and 1½ hours!). You are far too busy and important people to be wasting your life infusing yourselves with divine musical nectar from one of the most deep and spiritual composers to have graced this planet. 😉 But could I tempt you to set aside your super-busy-ness to spend just 12 minutes of your life listening to one little part of his 9th Symphony? Actually, this particular part (or “movement” as it’s called) is especially relevant to “super-busy-ness”. Shockingly so. Let me explain: Read the rest of this entry »
RESURRECTION IS MORE THAN A RITE OF SPRING: It is the profound desire of every honest heart. The cycle of physical death can only be broken by resurrection. Resurrection is not to be confused with rebirth (which is merely another opportunity to die). Resurrection means the end of death and the beginning of true life, eternal life (which cannot be obtained in this dimension of physicality). The music of Resurrection is immortalised in the 2nd Symphony of Gustav Mahler (called “The Resurrection Symphony”), which he began writing at age 28 in 1888. At around an hour and a half long, it is a massive work with a huge orchestra, two female soloists and a vast choir (which appears in the finale). To listen to this work is akin to watching an unforgettable epic film. It is easy to see why it was voted the fifth-greatest symphony of all time in a survey of conductors carried out by the BBC Music Magazine. To listen to it in its entirety is like taking a journey from a funeral into heaven and beyond. Angels defeat demons in this score with the greatest cosmic drama you can imagine, complete with huge climaxes, off-stage instrument ensembles and theatrical music canvases. Really, you have to hear it to believe it. No description of mine can adequately convey its power, might and majesty. Honestly, I can guarantee that it will blow your mind and fill you with inspiration and ecstatic joy (if you stick with it to the end). And surely Resurrection is especially appropriate in this season?
This was the first Mahler symphony I ever heard at the back end of the 1970s and I was hooked from then on. What a baptism it was! Its music regularly pops into my mind unexpectedly, like coming round the corner in a forest to find a dell of budding bluebells in a shaft of sunlight.
Here the symphony is played in a 27-year old performance by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle in Birmingham Symphony Hall. (That’s Birmingham, UK, not Alabama! 🙂). Although this is an older performance (which was recorded for BBC Radio 3), I have deliberately chosen it as it is from the days when Mahler was played WITH FIRE! It is a fine recording and Simon Rattle conducts with such presence too. His pre-performance meditation is a necessity. (Plus, the commentator’s concluding comments are from the days when announcers could speak English properly and reverently 😉).
I cannot urge you enough to listen to this extraordinary music. After listening once more, I am sitting here like an explorer who has climbed the highest mountain and, exhausted, grasps the heavenly summit in gratitude, for that is where I wish to stay. If this gargantuan symphony speaks to you, you will be pinned to your seat mesmerised by its spiritual power and glory.
ON WHAT HAS COME TO BE CALLED “NEW YEAR’S DAY”, it is traditional in Europe to listen to concerts of Viennese polkas and waltzes, mainly by Johann Strauss II (1825 – 1899). What many do not know is that at that time there was another Strauss in Vienna called Richard (pronounced Rickard, 1864 – 1949). Richard Strauss did admire Johann Strauss’s waltzes, but Richard’s music was in another dimension altogether — a heavenly one. Frankly, I would much rather listen to Richard’s music than Johann’s. I don’t mind the occasional waltz; but a whole concert of them, with encores? Nein danke! Waltzes don’t really go anywhere. They are for emotional dilettantes. One can never get to the real marrow of life (or death) in ¾ time. 😊
Here’s another Living-Room Video of a song I’ve just written. It’s about the effect that “daddy-issues” have on relationships and lives. The lyrics are below the video.
Read the lyrics