A work my the American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.
The incredibly prolific Jeff Gburek, currently based in Poland and partnering with violinist Karolina Ossowska, put together their latest labor of love, and though I don’t normally engage in Top-Ten lists for year’s end, I think it fair to say that this release is his most beautifully crafted, most thoughtful and profound releases.
The album was recorded in Romania and Poland between September 2016 and October 2017. On top of the incredible range of instrumentation, there are many field recordings which give a life to each track that one rarely finds in experimental music.
Of particular interest are the spoken word portions of Track #4, Hyperions 4 (Lift Not The Painted Veil). From the notes left by Gburek and Ossowska, the first text is a piece written by Percy Bysshe Shelley bearing the same name. The second is a work penned by Gburek himself. Both are read with a warm but darkened tone which envelops the listener as much as the instrumentation does.
Easily one of 2018’s best releases, regardless of genre.
A pleasant treat courtesy of C. S. Lewis and the good monk who provided this timely quote, Richard Huggins.
Breathless was the air over Bethlehem. Black and bare
Were the fields; hard as granite the clods;
Hedges stiff with ice; the sedge in the vice
Of the pool, like pointed iron rods.
And the deathly stillness spread from Bethlehem. It was shed
Wider each moment on the land;
Through rampart and wall into camp and into hall
Stole the hush; all tongues were at a stand.
At the Procurator’s feast the jocular freedman ceased
His story, and gaped. All were glum
Travelers at their beer in a tavern turned to hear
The landlord; their oracle was dumb.
But the silence flowed forth to the islands and the North
And smoothed the unquiet river bars
And levelled out the waves from their revelling and paved
The sea with cold reflected stars.
Where the Caesar on Palatine sat at ease to sign,
Without anger, signatures of death,
There stole into his room and on his soul a gloom,
And his pen faltered, and his breath.
Then to Carthage and the Gauls, past Parthia and the Falls
Of Nile and Mount Amara it crept;
The romp and war of beast in swamp and jungle ceased,
The forest grew still as though it slept.
So it ran about the girth of the planet. From the Earth
A signal, a warning, went out.
And away behind the air. Her neighbors were aware
Of change. They were troubled with a doubt.
Salamanders in the Sun that brandish as they run
Tails like the Americas in size
Were stunned by it and dazed; wondering, they gazed
Up at Earth, misgiving in their eyes.
In Houses and Signs Ousiarchs divine
Grew pale and questioned what it meant;
Great Galactal lords stood back to back with swords
Half-drawn, awaiting the event,
And a whisper among them passed, ‘Is this perhaps the last
Of our story and the glories of our crown?
—The entropy worked out?—The central redoubt
Abandoned? The world-spring running down?
Then they could speak no more. Weakness overbore
Even them. They were as flies in a web,
In their lethargy stone-dumb. The death had almost come;
The tide lay motionless at ebb.
Like a stab at that moment, over Crab and Bowman,
Over Maiden and Lion, came the shock
Of returning life, the start and burning pang at heart,
Setting Galaxies to tingle and rock;
And the Lords dared to breathe, and swords were sheathed
And a rustling, a relaxing began,
With a rumor and noise of the resuming of joys,
On the nerves of the universe it ran.
Then pulsing into space with delicate, dulcet pace
Came a music, infinitely small
And clear. But it swelled and drew nearer and held
All worlds in the sharpness of its call.
And now divinely deep, and louder, with the sweep
and quiver of inebriating sound,
The vibrant dithyramb shook Libra and the Ram,
The brains of Aquarius spun round;
Such a note as neither Throne nor Potentate had known
Since the Word first founded the abyss,
But this time it was changed in a mystery, estranged,
A paradox, an ambiguous bliss.
Heaven danced to it and burned. Such answer was returned
To the hush, the Favete, the fear
That Earth had sent out; revel, mirth and shout
Descended to her, sphere below sphere.
Saturn laughed and lost his latter age’s frost,
His beard, Niagara-like, unfroze;
Monsters in the Sun rejoiced; the Inconstant One,
The unwedded Moon, forgot her woes.
A shiver of re-birth and deliverance on the Earth
went gliding. Her bonds were released.
Into broken light a breeze rippled and woke the seas,
In the forest it startled every beast.
Capripods fell to dance from Taproban to France,
Leprechauns from Down to Labrador,
In his green Asian dell the Phoenix from his shell
Burst forth and was the Phoenix once more.
So death lay in arrest. But at Bethlehem the bless’d
Nothing greater could be heard
Than a dry wind in the thorn, the cry of the One new-born,
And cattle in stall as they stirred.
David Bentley Hart is most well-known as an American Eastern Orthodox philosophical theologian and polemicist, as well as author of Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies. Happily, he is also a fan of our national pastime, baseball, and indulges to the point of exaggeration for his love of the sport.
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTheAlienistTNT%2Fphotos%2Fa.1766537223639357.1073741827.1464896313803451%2F1778264899133256%2F%3Ftype%3D3&width=500Wonderful news out of cable TV land, for a change!
Many years ago, my friends Andrea and Lalo introduced me to the works of Caleb Carr, a historian and author who caught my attention with his work of historical fiction, The Alienist. Apparently, Carr has wanted to turn this book into a film or movie, and in January 2018, he’ll finally have his wish granted.
I only hope they stick to the book as much as possible.
Thanks kindly to HelloPoetry for posting this originally:
The poverty of yesterday was less squalid than the poverty we purchase with our industry today.
Fortunes were smaller then as well.
(The Elderly Lady)
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With every good-bye you learn.
Thanks to londonchoirgirl for introducing Slovak writer Jana Beňová to the English-speaking (and reading) world.
Read more about Jana Beňová at A Year of Reading.