January 20, 2004

those whom Harmony united in life

I just returned from watching a film, on a date with myself, in a theatre with six other people. It was a documentary about a nun that runs a halfway house in the South Bronx. All the people who work at the little film center kept saying, as I bought my ticket and salted my tiny popcorn, "hope you are in a good mood now" and "it's really depressing".

There are some parts that are terribly sad, the poverty and loss and struggle depicted. Some people, maybe the people in the lobby, see mostly the try-and-try-again sobriety of the people living in this halfway house, and see that as depressing. Which is not depressing to me, as I know and love and have loved a lot of sober people who spent years strung out before they got better, or maybe died only knowing sobriety sometimes, but knowing it none the less. I thought about all the men in the film, trying to stay close to god so they do not smoke crack. I thought about fighting biological imparatives and predelictions towards drinking on top of normal habit, desire and/or desperation to get loaded and how that must be the hardest thing in the world.

I thought more about the potaganist, the nun, about her being in love with God. About what it must feel like, to be pushed inside your heart like that, and know deep within your being what it is like. I thought about if it was your job to be a bride of Christ. I bet that it is more romantic than it sounds.

I got in the car and the radio was on the non-NPR non-commercial station that is just stoic and sturdy classical favorites peppered with dead-monotone, dj-read advertisements for classy, old people shit - like egyptian rugs and grand pianos and imported marble countertops. As I was almost home, they played a Gregorio Allegri peice, Psalm 51(*1). Allegri was a tenor of the papal choir, from the time he was nine until he died at 70, in 1652 (*2) --- He spent all his time, ever, it would seem, around church music, singing and composing songs about heaven's majesty, god's love and being down with god.

It was one of the most beautiful peices of music I have ever heard. I parked in front of my house and I listened to all ten minutes of it and cried through most of it. That sound of selfless old world piety, affectionate reverance and fadeless belief, the buttercream richness of Italian liturgical lovin' (*3)...Where music or art of this perfect nature, it transgresses itself and becomes almost invisble, it is more like an open door, or an equals sign, where as a listener, it does not experientially reference music, but rather, the performer or composers experience of god. It's no longer a song about god, it's a song of god. A complete conveyance.

I suppose that is all we wish from music, isn't it?

(*1 -- as performed by Grammy-nominated, Minneapolis based (represent) accapella choir The Dale Warland Singers, from their 1996 album Cathedral Classics. )
(*2 -- he was buried in the traditional burial chapel of papal choirs - on the tomb it says:
The Papal singers,
anxious that those whom Harmony united in life
should not be separated in death,
wish this as their burial place.
(*3 Russian and Eastern European liturgical music of the same period sound's like Sonic Youth Daydream Nation w/o the singing and the drums and the Mike Watt answering machien message. Like sour milk, cloaks of death and empty rusted boats atonally scraping the ocean floor. Italian liturgical sounds: fluffy clouds, flowing white robes and Jesus-y good times -- Russian: God's wrath, atonement, famine etc. )

Posted by Jessica at January 20, 2004 12:15 AM | TrackBack

re: *2 - For a minute it seemed like a great idea that our life goals might now need to be only to form a band that was so tight in waking life, and so certain of what we were doing, that we'd all want to be buried together. That's hotter than John Frusciante's asterisk tattoo.

But can you imagine a mausoleum with the double panther head logo above the doors? I'm making plans now.

We all should be so lucky as Gregorio.

Posted by: andrea at January 20, 2004 03:12 PM

nice site ;)

Posted by: Online Offers at April 12, 2005 10:11 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?