The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Friday, July 07, 2006

Glass' Symphony No. 6

....enrich this Plutonian Ode to explode its empty thunder through earthen thought-worlds

Magnetize this howl with heartless compassion, destroy this mountain of Plutonium with ordinary mind and body speech,

thus empower this Mind-guard spirit gone out, gone out, gone beyond, gone beyond me, Wake space, so Ah!

Thus ends Allen Ginsberg's poem set to music by the composer Philip Glass. I don't think I can recommend this recording to those who are not die-hard Glass fans. I adore Glass, for me he is a musical god, but I can see why people would despise him. He doesn't really break new ground with this recording, but those of us who appreciate his music will be able to enjoy it nonetheless.

The biggest problem, I think, is the text itself. It is sung by the soprano, Laura Flanigan, and like all music sung by a soprano, I have a real problem understanding the libretto (though if the music is good enough, the words really don't matter, as fans of French baroque opera well know.) So the Ginsberg's poem becomes a bit of an after-thought in this sense.

Overall, I thought the piece was enjoyable, suitable especially for more contemplative moods.