For several months I’ve wanted to sing for you, so when I learned that August’s Bloggers For Peace challenge focused on the intersection of peace and music, I was really excited. But, alas, I am not a technical guru, and after 2 weeks of fiddling and fighting with all the recording options I could think of, I settled for posting Bobby McFerrin’s “Peace” two weeks ago.
That beautiful song deserves the attention, but I felt defeated.
When I read A Peaceful Path through Music on Sunday, I felt compelled to try again. You see, singing has been my best friend, a demanding teacher, my most direct route to God, and the salve on every wound I have endured. I sing to express my joy, to feel the luxury of foreign languages in my mouth, and give voice to confusion and pain. I sing because I wouldn’t know peace if I didn’t.
Earning a Bachelor’s of Music required performing a senior recital. Being a typical
ham singer, I loved this requirement – all the more so when my piano teacher agreed to be my accompanist. He was a gifted pianist and teacher, and went far beyond accompanying me to showing me the beauty and power of each song, and teaching me how to express it (as much as possible for a 21 year-old). The months of intense rehearsals with him and my voice teacher were some of the most joyous of my life, even though I also carried a full class load and worked part-time.
My anxiety was high the day of the recital, but I relaxed as I began singing that night, and then I felt glorious joy. Yet twinges of sadness also arose as each song moved me closer to the ending of a precious period of my life. When I walked off the stage the final time, I felt a mix of relief and loss.
Here are three songs from that evening:
The first piece is Claude Debussy’s lush and dreamy “Clair de lune.”
The musical romp “Fantoches” (starts at 2:43) is also by Debussy. Singing it is sheer delight.
The final piece (starts at 3:55) is the first of Bela Bartok’s Eight Hungarian Folksongs. I sang the English translation:
Snow-white kerchief, dark both field and furrow show. He who loved me once has left me lonely now.
Silent, tearless, is it so true lovers part? Chill of death I feel upon my breaking heart.
Yes, it’s a sad song, but isn’t that one of the best things about music? By giving a fluid voice to every emotion, more space opens in our hearts, clearing the way for peace.
Other Bloggers for Peace posts: