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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

Ola Gjeilo's Northern Lights:

About the above piece:
With text taken from the sixth chapter of the Song of Songs, but inspired by the aurora borealis, Gjeilo describes the piece Northern Lights as his “most Norwegian production in years”. Composed in December 2007 in Oslo, Gjeilo describes what prompted him to write the piece:
“Looking out from the attic window that Christmas in Oslo, over a wintry lake under the stars, I was thinking about how this ‘terrible’ beauty is so profoundly reflected in the northern lights or aurora borealis… It is one of the most beautiful natural phenomena I’ve ever witnessed, and has such a powerful, electric quality, which must have been both mesmerizing and terrifying to people in the past, when no one knew what it was and when much superstition was attached to these experiences.”


  1. A beautiful selection. I was lucky enough to see the Northern Lights one time, and it is a surreal experience. This music captures the mood.

  2. This was really quite lovely! What a nice change from all the day-to-day ugliness we've been experiencing. Thank you, AOW! :D

    1. Benning! Glad to see you here.

      How is your health these days?

    2. So-so, mostly because I've put on a lot of weight. But the heart pumps fine. :)

  3. I don't think my friend Emily Dickinson was overly fond of music. She once wrote of "the [oppressive] weight of cathedral tunes." And yet the following –– one of her best known poems –– right very well describe the essence of this choral piece by Ola Gjelo, which evokes an aura of Awestruck Serenity in its apparent simplicity.

    There is no Frigate like a Book
    To take us Lands away,
    Nor any Coursers like a Page
    Of prancing Poetry ––
    This Traverse may the poorest take
    Without oppress of Toll ––
    How frugal is the Chariot
    That bears a Human soul!

    Now let us make a few discreet substitutions to help close the argument.

    There is no engine like a Song
    To take us Lands away,
    Nor any taxi like a Score
    Of soaring harmony ––
    This Journey may the poorest take
    Without paying a cent ––
    How frugal is the Rocket Ship
    That sends a Soul to Heaven!

    At root Poetry and Music are One.

    1. FT,
      She doesn't seem to have liked music -- at least, from what we know.

      But isn't there something about her hosting at least one music recital in The Belle of Amherst?

    2. Possibly. I can't remember, AOW. If so, I wonder what might have been on the program?

      Though gifted with uniquely penetrating poetic insight, we must remember that Emily was, after all, a "provincial."

      She lived her entire life in Amherst, which was very much a New England Country Town in her lifetime. She did travel to Boston at rare intervals, and I think once to New York, but her worldly experience was extremely limited.

      My opinion comes from her poetry, all of which I have read at one time or another. While much of her works is innately "musical" in itself, she makes virtually no direct reference I can recall to the glories of musical Art. [Now I'm going to have to research the subject, and probably wind up proving myself wrong. ;-]

      Interestingly enough C.S. Lewis is also on record for disliking "Church Music." [He was a late, and most reluctant convert to Christianity, believe it or not.] He found the the music of the hymns generally "mediocre" at best, and the texts to be "inferior poetry." He thought the organ nothing but "one continuous roar." (!)

      I am a great admirer of C. S, Lewis, BUT have to say his negative view of something I happen adore only provides proof that "We all have our blind spots." He did, apparently, admire J.S. Bach –– certainly a redeeming feature. ;-)


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