MP3 Jerry Gerber - In Praise of Poets
It is likely that these songs will grow on you, as the music is designed to challenge you intellectually, and calm and inspire spiritually. Poetry from Sophocles, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Wendell Berry and more.
12 MP3 Songs
CLASSICAL: Contemporary, ELECTRONIC: Virtual Orchestra
Returning to song-form after several years of instrumental long-form writing held much appeal to me after the paradigm shift of September 11th and its consequences. I longed to connect with the deepest aspect of human nature through music, and these twelve songs are the result. I am very fortunate to have met Janet Campbell, Dale Tracy and Katy Stephan, three gifted singers who brought these compositions to life and infused them with the mastery and soulfullness a composer only imagines while writing the music.
In choosing the text, I wanted to find poems which spoke of the perplexities and possibilities of human existence. Lament to the Spirit of War and Dulce et Decorum Est are two anti-war songs. Some people would like to think of war as just and noble, and perhaps at one time it was. But modern warfare involves the indiscriminate slaughter of innocents and the wasteful destruction of our environment, more than we really care to know. Holding the architects of war accountable to law, be they leaders of countries or leaders of terrorist groups, is fast becoming a moral and global necessity. The key is individual accountability and the continuing evolution of international law. As citizens we have a duty to become informed so as not to allow politicians to use war as a tool for self-interest. It is now said that the poor fight the wars, the middle-class pays for it, and the rich profit from it. As Enheduanna asked thousands of years ago, "Who can explain why you go on so?"
The second song on this CD, Prayer for a Marriage, is an expression of hope for life-long partnership in a modern romantic style. Ritual to Read to Each Other suggests that we must strive to be aware of what we say to one another, and from what part of ourselves we are speaking. This poem appeals to an ethical sensitivity in our dealings with others, and the importance of a conscious assessment of our real feelings and motives.
The Power of Love contemplates the mysterious and frightening Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture in Greek mythology. In A Noiseless Patient Spider, a spider spinning a web becomes a metaphor for the fragile but vital connection to spirit within, the silver cord or gossamer thread. The commonplace and small becomes the very door to the infinite itself!
Unending Love might be heard as a song about romantic love, but Tagore''s sensual metaphors enlighten the imagination and speak of divine love, how it is re-lived in each individual yet is still experienced as new love. Echo concerns the thoughts of a person contemplating the mystery of losing a loved one to death. What happens to the connection? If the existence of another is now "merely" a dream or a memory, why does the relationship still feel continuous? Rossetti explores this ultimate mystery with a poetic sense so innately musical it simply begs to be sung, and in fact this poem has been set by other composers as well.
O Karma, Dharma, Pudding & Pie is a witty and playful expression of a person''s need for a meaningful life, one in which superstition, dogma and narcissistic beliefs are replaced with a more enlightened spiritual receptivity. In Peace of Wild Things, I tried to create a mood that is an expression of the freedom and calm brought by the experience of the natural world.
Two songs, This World is not Conclusion and As Once the Winged Energy, suggest there is a both a life beyond this one, and a source within us that can help attain that life. Both songs present the possibilities inherent in human consciousness. This World is not Conclusion suggests that religious gesture by itself may have little to do with a sincere search for truth, and As Once the Winged Energy boldly declares the energy we derive from our achievements carries us forward to greater awareness of our true identity, as the God within wants for us. Even as we make errors we grow, change and learn to be conscious in our relationship to both things and beings.
I sincerely hope the listener finds artistic enjoyment with this recording.
San Francisco, October 2004