First the words and then the music or is it the other way round? Anyone familiar with Richard Strauss’s opera “Capriccio” will know this quandary so teasingly worked out in the highest music that the maliciously called “greatest second-rate composer” ever wrote.
Last night, in a recital by poet Paola Ceccarelli entitled “Poesie per sopravivere” (poems for survival) and harpist Anna Livia Walker, it was resolved magnificently. Sometimes the music preceded the words, sometimes the music underlined them. The words were musical and the music was poetical. This combination was presented to a packed and highly appreciative audience in the Sala dei Gigli at Ponte di Serraglio’s Casinò.
Why poems to survive? It’s because the poems have been created from a traumatic time of affliction both physical and psychical. The poet’s son was Paola’s interviewer and asked her if writing poetry was at all therapeutic. Yes, certainly writing poetry can have a healing effect on one’s being. Does the poet have any religious attachment? No, but I believe in the sacrality of things and actions in everyday life, There is a sacred dimension to our life independent of any ideology religions may place upon it.
I find this a very apt remark as I sense a feeling of sacrality in anything from seeing a robin hop around one when digging in the garden, to “catching” an unexpected rainbow, to discovering a new flavour in one’s food, to feeling a new, tenderer touch sensation with one’s partner.
Sacrality is after all the ability to enter into a dimension of life which is hidden to so many of us who, knowingly or unknowingly, blinker ourselves against certain sensations.
The ability to discard those blinkers, which after all are just a mask of fear itself, is an opening of the gate towards sacrality and the luminosity that lies in the land it opens out onto.
I felt that these themes, which I have “interpreted” for non-Italian speakers in the audience, are what makes us live beyond bread and circuses and into something else quite magical and, indeed, sacral. The eloquent playing of Anna Livia who combined dazzling Debussy with more modern repertoire including her own improvisations, and Paola Ceccarelli’s words were a supreme example of feeling this sacrality.
This theme of sacrality incidentally shall also enter into my talk on that “greatest of English composers who almost was”, Thomas Linley Junior, tomorrow at the Biblioteca comunale Chiesa Anglicana at Bagni di Lucca Thursday 12th March at 16.00.
If you are around that place at that time you are most welcome to drop in. I can assure you half the time taken by my lecture will be hearing the divine music of the “English Mozart”, who died so young in a boating accident at on the age of 22.
Don’t miss the rest of the Women’s week exhibition and events at the Pomte a Serraglio’s casinò shown here: