January 11th, 2007


Rumi, "Love is the Master"

Love is the Master

Love is the One who masters all things;
I am mastered totally by Love.
By my passion of love for Love
I have ground sweet as sugar.
O furious Wind, I am only a straw before you;
How could I know where I will be blown next?
Whoever claims to have made a pact with Destiny
Reveals himself a liar and a fool;
What is any of us but a straw in a storm?
How could anyone make a pact with a hurricane?
God is working everywhere his massive Resurrection;
How can we pretend to act on our own?
In the hand of Love I am like a cat in a sack;
Sometimes Love hoists me into the air,
Sometimes Love flings me into the air,
Love swings me round and round His head;
I have no peace, in this world or any other.
The lovers of God have fallen in a furious river;
They have surrendered themselves to Love's commands.
Like mill wheels they turn, day and night, day and night,
Constantly turning and turning, and crying out.

--Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi

25th Anniversary Concert!

Rehearsal started again last night, this time for our big 25th Anniversary Concert. We're doing Elgar's "Give Unto the Lord" (Op. 74); a big commission with alto and baritone soloists, strings, harp, and organ; and Mendelssohn's second symphony, Lobgesang (Op. 52).

The Elgar is the opener, I think, which our conductor picked because he likes Elgar ("sometimes I like the sweet stuff") and "to show off how good we sound."

The commission, by Roxana Panufnik, has text from both 1 Corinthians in the Bible and a translation from the poet Rumi. The Corinthians one ("If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal....") was chosen by the man who donated the commission, which is in memory of his wife, one of our singers who died some years ago. I sat by her, my first two or three years with the choir, and as we worked on the piece, which is loaded up with mixed Major and minor triads, I laughed to think how she would have bitched and complained about the difficult alto part. The composer chose the Rumi poem, "Love is the Master."

The Mendelssohn has what amounts to a whole orchestral movement before the choir comes in for several movements that form a cantata. We sightread a nice fast movement at full speed last night, spitting German in every direction, whee! like riding a rollercoaster for someone who likes riding rollercoasters who is not me, but I liked this a lot! And then the chorale that followed it.

I left excited about the upcoming concert.

Sandburg, "Among the Red Guns"

Among the Red Guns

After waking at dawn one morning when the wind sang low among dry leaves in an elm

Among the red guns,
In the hearts of soldiers
Running free blood
In the long, long campaign:
Dreams go on.

Among the leather saddles,
In the heads of soldiers
Heavy in the wracks and kills
Of all straight fighting:
Dreams go on.

Among the hot muzzles,
In the hands of soldiers
Brought from flesh-folds of women--
Soft amid the blood and crying--
In all your hearts and heads
Among the guns and saddles and muzzles:

Dreams go on,
Out of the dead on their backs,
Broken and no use any more:
Dreams of the way and the end go on.

--Carl Sandburg

off to Arisia

I'm off to Arisia in the morning, and may not be reachable until Tuesday the 16th, depending on my time and the availability of internet in my vicinity.

Have fun while I'm gone!