Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Childhood Remembered

Another New Age Sampler with a theme by Narada.  The theme is about childhood and the magical time it is. It involves many  of the Narada New Age artists with selections that are aimed at portraying childhood. 

The Cello's Song is a piece written by a Russian musician Kostia and David Arkenstone.  In the Liner notes Kostia writes that the cello teaches us that "we must treasure nature and the gifts that it gives us, like wood for the cello."  I have never thought of the fact that nature not only produces music in the sense of the sounds of nature itself and the inspiration that writers have taken from it but also the raw materials that create the sounds. 
Tree in the Storm by Ralf Illenburger is a little more Jazz oriented but is written about nature and Ralf's hope that nature in its pristine form is still around for our children's children. 
Kostia performs the piece based on a old Russian fairy tale Maria Morevna a story about a prince and the pursuit of his beautiful wife Maria who had been captured by "Kaskev the Deathless" a dark character that the Prince, Igor, had let out of a "box room" which Maria had instructed him not to open. After he was let out Kaskev kidnapped Maria and the story outlines the pursuit and eventual reconciliation of Igor and Maria.  I have read a lot and Myths and their use in Jungian Psychology.  Myth and Fairy tales are used in Jung's thought as having deep psychological meaning.  I have attended Workshops by Marion Woodman and Robert Bly where they use the story of the Maiden King  to illustrate the concept of integration of the male and female.  Maria Morevna is a similar story, the journey of a man to integrate his anima
The next piece The Dragon's Daughter by David Lanz  and Paul Speer is based on a children's book Mei Ming and the Dragon's Daughter. It is a tale of a young Chinese woman who uses the singing voice to save her village.  Can music save things.  I know it can save lives and the sixties have shown it can change society.
Another fairy tale The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen  and presented in a Renaissance music style by Carol Nethen. I am reminded of how powerful the stories we read and experienced as youth are so important and how they are so magical. One of fondest memories was listening to the story of Wind in the Willows and the scene where Mr. Toad of Toad Hall falls in love with motorcars. 

Also Ratty and mole and the boat and the little house by the stream and the picnics.  Heaven for a kid learning to use his imagination.  It was read to us and it was magic.

So much for nostalgia. 

Trapezoid are the next artists and do a composition called Hawk based on a book Hawk I'm your brother.  It is a story of a Southwestern Native American who wants to learn how to fly and captures a hawk in hopes that the hawk can be his brother and teach him to fly but ends up freeing it and learns to appreciate the differences but appreciate flying vicariously through his adopted brother.  Honor your longings.  It is played on hammered dulcimers.

Another Children's book Crow and the Weasel is the inspiration for Tingstad and Rumbel to write a wonderful piece with Native American rhythms about the nature of childhood friendships. 

David Arkenstone returns with a composition The North Wind  inspired by the book by Mercer Mayer taken from a Norwegian folk tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon.  In his description of the piece, Arkenstone states, "Storytellers and composers share the same goal-to encourage people to take imaginary journeys.  For me, writing music is one of my favorite ways to travel."  I agree with him and I wonder in the plethora of ways to listen to music today has not allowed us to really sit and listen and be transported.  Music today often is just a soundtrack in out lives and not an experience of letting the music transports.  It is often the noise that alleviates the loneliness in the foreground.  Taking time with our imagination can be a wonderful experience.
Hiawatha's Song is the inspiration for Martin Kolbe. 

Hiawatha's Departure
from The Song of Hiawatha

By the shore of Gitchie Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
At the doorway of his wigwam,
In the pleasant Summer morning,
Hiawatha stood and waited.
All the air was full of freshness,
All the earth was bright and joyous,
And before him through the sunshine,
Westward toward the neighboring forest
Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo,
Passed the bees, the honey-makers,
Burning, singing in the sunshine.
Bright above him shown the heavens,
Level spread the lake before him;
From its bosom leaped the sturgeon,
Aparkling, flashing in the sunshine;
On its margin the great forest
Stood reflected in the water,
Every tree-top had its shadow,
Motionless beneath the water.
From the brow of Hiawatha
Gone was every trace of sorrow,
As the fog from off the water,
And the mist from off the meadow.
With a smile of joy and triumph,
With a look of exultation,
As of one who in a vision
Sees what is to be, but is not,
Stood and waited Hiawatha.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Richard Souther composed a piece based on another Hans Christian Andersen tale The Nightingale which outlines the morale that "outward appearances can easily cause us to overlook deeper intangible qualities that we should value much higher.  Souther writes, I'm reminded of the story of Christ blessing little children.  His disciples first turned away the children, but Christ welcomed them and taught that we reach our highest destiny only by living life with a childlike sense of innocence." 
Gwinna is another children's book that inspired Alasdair Fraser to compose a piece called First Flight.  According to the Author, Barbara Berger, Gwinna is a girl who has wings but does not know it. When she hears a mysterious song in the wind, she is filled with longing. Led by a small white owl, she sets out on a quest, finding her wings, her own power of flight, and at last the harp she longs for.
Wayne Gratz is the final artist on the album his contribution The Green Room based on a children's book called The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer about a boy finding a salamander in the forest and learning to take care of it and as Gratz stated, "Nature, I learned early in life, needs our respect.  The piece is wonderful with snippets of bird song in the background.  Lovely.

As I sit here finishing this blog, my oldest daughter is waiting to birth their first child and my fourth grand child, a boy.  I will be a grandad to four wonderful grandchildren, two girls and two boys.  I am humbled by the miracle of birth and pray everything goes well for my daughter and her husband.


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