There is in the music of various modern-day composers a certain mesmerizing quality that enables one to become lost in one’s thoughts, or transported, however temporarily, to a higher plane. The musical project dubbed VNV Nation (Victory Not Vengeance Nation) has produced a moving piece titled “As It Fades” which can only be described as surreal. Richard Shulman, although whimsical in some places, is another gifted producer of music that is joyous to the soul. Ambient/neo-classical composer Tim Story, who gave us the song he titled “And Evening Falls,” is another genius whose artistry is boundless, and, at times, surprising. Others, such as Patrick O’Hearn, Constance Demby, and Enya, are in that same camp, and the Medieval-like duo that call themselves Dead Can Dance gave us a track titled “The Host of Seraphim” which seems to exceed the boundaries of the normative and weaves together melody and harmony, rhythm and dynamics, along with unusual instrumentation and orchestration that allows one to enter into a different world, their body becoming a shrine frozen in time. Being lost in one’s thoughts while in a pleasant state of mind due to the music of these mostly unfamiliar artists is a favorite pastime, a reverie that provides an escape from the grind.
And yet, this musically-induced trance-like escape from reality is often offset by the power of the written word, including expressions that come to us through the medium of poetry, where enlightened artists of the written word hold us spellbound with their craft at expressing a thought in ways we may have felt but never could have uttered. These elegies awaken within us a receptor of recognition that a truth is being expressed for our consideration.
Take Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73:
This thou perceivest,
which makes thy love more strong,
to love that well
which thou must leave ere long.
Haunting, and at once moving, causing one who truly understands its meaning to draw upon their own deep wellsprings of love and bathe their family members and their most intimate friends in it, knowing our next encounter with them could be our last.
Reveries and elegies. . . one being pleasant and carefree, one more solemn and contemplative, . . . and both drawing out of us the more important characteristics of our common humanity.
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