THE WEIGHT WE CARRY (Poetry in Music, Episode 3)

Inspired by a couple of particularly exciting pieces that I had the opportunity to enjoy in the recent weeks, I felt like taking up my old project called POETRY IN MUSIC, which is based on the idea to elaborate in music one composition from a modern writer or poet. I started the project in 2017 with two initial episodes, the first one featuring the verses of Dylan Thomas’ villanelle “Do not go gentle into that good night“, recited by the poet himself, the second one featuring the poignant and touching verses of “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe.

The mixtape that I’m presenting today, which may be considered as the third chapter of the serie, features the beautiful poem called “Song“, by American poet and writer Allen Ginsberg. The music includes some of the most beautiful contemplative and modern classical songs that were releaed in the last few months by artists such as Nils Frahm, Nathan Shubert and Gareth Quinn Redmond.

Enjoy the mixtape and you can follow Ginsberg’s poem by scrolling down just after the widget.






“Song”, by Allen Ginsberg (1954)

The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction
the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.
Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
constructs
a miracle,
in imagination
anguishes
till born
in human–
looks out of the heart
burning with purity–
for the burden of life

is love,
but we carry the weight
wearily,
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.
No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love-

be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
–cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:
the weight is too heavy
–must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.
The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye–
yes, yes,
that’s what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.

POETRY IN MUSIC, Volume 2. The best new Meditative, Modern Classical and Ambient Music. Featuring Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee”.

 

After the positive reception of the first volume of POETRY IN MUSIC, which is the series of mixtapes dedicated to the beautiful world of meditative and modern classical music, you can enjoy a new selection of delicate and relaxing songs selected from the best albums of the year.

This new compilation features works by mainstream artists such as Max Richter and Ryuichi Sakamoto, but also other musical gems by Balmorhea, Bogdan Belyaev and Shastro. A special mention goes to a couple of artists, Daigo Hanada and Joep Beving, who released two of the best piano albums of the year. Their albums are probably the most delicate and poetic works we will hear until the end of 2017.

The peculiarity of POETRY IN MUSIC is that each volume of the series is enriched by the recitation of a poem. The first volume featured the verses of Dylan Thomas’ villanelle “Do not go gentle into that good night“, recitated by the poet himself. Volume 2 features the poignant and touching verses of “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe.

“Annabel Lee” is the last of the poems composed by the American author and explores the themes of Love and Death. The narrator tells how he fell in love with Annabel Lee when they were young. Their love for one another burned with such an intensity that angels became envious and one night the wind came out of the cloud, chilling and killing the young woman.


 

“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe

 

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—

In her tomb by the sounding sea.


 

POETRY IN MUSIC – The magical encounter between rhymes and melodies, Volume 01 (June-July 2017)

Inspired by the experiment I did with one my recent mixtapes (Crest of Waves Volume 1, where I introduces a few excerpts from Pablo Neruda’s “Puedo Escribir“), I decided to launch a new series of mixes where such fusion between music and poetry could become a constituting element rather than just a particularity linked to a single experiment. I realized that the medidative and ambient are maybe the best kind of music to become the sonic background to the acting of a poem, and here we are now with the first volume of a new series of mixtapes, POETRY IN MUSIC. I will include in every issue of the series the best new songs selected from the recent meditative, modern classical and ambient albums, and I will join these with a poem that fits with the music. I am really excited about the result I achieved with this first volume of the new series, I hope that you will enjoy likewise and let me have any comment. As usual, below the widget with the mixtape you’ll find my commentary.

 

∼ The Poem ∼

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914 – 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Dylan Thomas’ most famous work was written in 1947 when he was in Florence with his family. It has been suggested that it was written for Thomas’ dying father, but the speaker’s use of commands (“do not go gentle into that good night”) suggests a universal audience. The poem is about getting old and close to death. Instead of giving in and going gracefully the poem urges people – and particularly the narrator’s father – to protest and rage against the end of their life. It is a strong invocation for us to live boldly and to fight. It implores us to not just “go gentle into that good night,” but to rage against it. Even at the end of life, when “grave men” are near death, the poem instructs us to burn with life.

 

∼ The Music ∼

 

First two tracks of the mixtape comes from the beautiful recent album by Penguin Cafe, named The Imperfect Sea, which was released on May 5, 2017. Penguin Cafe is a band founded by Arthur Jeffes, the son of the Simon Jeffes who was the leader in the 70’s of the avant-pop band the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Arthur Jeffes’ project started as a continuation of his father’s work and the new group, which today comprises more than 10 musicians, has now published the third LP. With the last album the new band is finally moving away from Penguin Café Orchestra and they’re consolidating their own sound based on slow and long melodic pieces. First track, Wheels Within Wheels, is an incredible cover of a Simian Mobile Disco’s song where beats are beautifully replaced with gentle layers of strings and delicate piano cycles. I believe that the subtle tension and drama created by the song fits perfectly with Thomas’ poem. Second track, Cantorum, is one of the best modern classical songs of the year, with droney strings and a yearning melody on top.

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Following track of the mix was inserted to momentarily interrupt the tension created in the first part of the mix… even if also this song is somehow talking about death… The piece, named Clara, comes from Room 29, the album resulted from the recent collaboration between English musician and actor Jarvis Cocker and Canadian eclectic pianist and producer Chilly Gonzales (the author of the wondeful Solo Piano albums). The album is a 16-episode song cycle telling some invented or real-life stories from the Chateau Marmont, the infamous and decandent hotel in Los Angeles. Clara tells about the pianist daughter of Mark Twain, who attempted to rouse the spirit of her dead husband at the Chateau.

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Next two tracks sign a move towards ambient music. Songs Dilemma and Venatori have been selected from Endless, the dark and minimalistic album released on last May by the Italian duo Tales of Us for Deutsche Grammophon. The record marks a steady turn of the duo into modern classical sounds, far away from the techno-house with which the two have gained attention and popularity.

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Last two pieces belong to Nuit Blanche, the fourth chapter of a conceptual quadrilogy conceived and recorded by the Tarkovsky Quartet, thea modern classical and chamber music ensemble featuring pianist François Couturier (who actually created the quartet), cellist Anja Lecher, saxophonist Jean-Marc Larché and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier. All the music composed by Courtiers and his fellow musicians is inspired by the great Soviet filmmaker, who gave the name to the ensemble. Within the seven songs of the playlist, Urga and Cum Dederit Delectis Suis Somnum are definitely those most close to the world of classical music. Melodic and dreamy songs are however alternated with expressive and dissonant pieces which maintain that sense worry which characterizes the whole compilation.

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See you on next issue!