THIS PAST SUNDAY, I WAS ATTACKED BY MUSIC.
Need to back up here.
Music was a major part of my life in earlier years. I grew up with classical music—dancing in the living room to Bolero and Sabre Dance; organ and voice in college; assorted choirs afterwards.
Then, mid-stream, I started writing. I discovered I could either write or listen to music, but not both at the same time. I respected good music too much to relegate it to background muszak. Certain pieces could reduce me to tears, and I loved to sit in the rocking chair and cry.
Life and writing ramped up, and rocking-chair sessions became fewer and fewer, until time and inclination faded away.
This past Sunday night, PBS featured an hour of Luciano Pavarotti, the great Italian tenor. Now, opera may not be your musical cup of tea, but if you allow it in, you might have to guard against its tentacles squeezing your heart dry. Opera addresses love, tragedy, human conflict. Sort of like Story—dragging drama and emotion to a new level of felt understanding.
Then this: Concerts with Pavarotti singing alongside Eric Clapton, Bono, Sting, Stevie Wonder. Opera at street level, where real people live.
Why do I cry over an overweight tenor singing Italian love songs? Certainly not because of any spiritual impact in the words. But God is the Author of music of any sort, and my heart must respond.
In his beloved stories, C.S. Lewis has God/Aslan singing Narnia into existence. Music seems to be built into our cosmos. Birds and frogs sing; people sing, Italian tenors sing. Do the stars sing? I don’t know. My ears don’t have the capacity to hear them. But the heavens do declare the glory of God, and there’s a Master Choir out there that we will join one day.
Does any music make you cry? Have you ever watched an opera?
MY NEW NOVEL, An Unpresentable Glory, IS SCHEDULED FOR RELEASE ON JULY 1! The eBook version is currently available on Amazon, and I believe hard copies will be on sale for .99 the entire month of July. For that price, think Christmas gifts!
Heard lots of opera in the pre-TV days (Sat at the Met!).
One real tear jerker is probably a Menno thing (but why not!): THE MENNONITE PIANO CONCERTO by Victor Davies and WHEN THEY SHALL ASK–songs of the Menno Faith in German (e.g. In the Rifted Rock I’m Resting and lots more).
Great to peak into your “soul”
Years ago I some how managed to stumble on a PBS concert featuring Pavarotti, Marilyn Horne, and Dame Joan Sutherland. I had only heard Mrs. Horne once before but was startled by her beautiful unusual voice and hungered for more. Pavarotti I was very familiar with, and Dame Joan reasonably so. All that familiarity did not prepare me for this glorious night of music. These three voices blended so well together (that’s not a given, no matter how famous you are) their trios and duets were seamless. None of this description can give you any idea of the power and glory and joy of their singing. They would snatch my breath away, then pull out sudden laughter and tears. I was a mess, I was mesmerized, carried away with ruthless power and beauty, as if I’d fallen on a towering black stallion that ran away with me desperately clinging for dear life. When it was over I sat in the sudden silence with my ears reluctant to let the music spill out and be gone. In the dark, in the silence, I had been shaken, stunned down to my bones, my soul, down in my inner deeps where God and I look eye to eye.
Lovely post! Thanks for sharing.
Can’t wait to read your new book! I saw the cover. So colorful! I will be checking Amazon every day!
Nicely, what does God like?? Lee added. ?I mean, we like
cookies and cartoons and toys, however what sort of issues are fun for God??
It was a question that for a minute Mommy and Daddy needed to
Hi Ellie – I happened to tune in to the PBS special as well. Did not realize Pavarotti had performed with all those artists – it was quite interesting, though I only caught part of the program. I love music as well. Quite a few songs bring me to weep, but the first that comes to mind is Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’.
Also, as God sits enthroned between the cherubim and rests upon our praises, we seek to remain mindful (as a worshiping congregation) that we are joining in with the worship taking place in heaven. Blessings to you!
Thank you, Rebecca! I just found your comment, having been up to my ears with getting my new book ready to release. I think of you often and am glad you haven’t written me off! : ) My best to you!