Sound Bytes

I have been to All Saints Anglican cathedral before to hear the University of King’s College choirs perform.  Their music is so…augh…so big, so encompassing, so exquisite…that I have wanted to write about that sound in its midst. A little while ago, I had that chance.  At some point, the man next to me said “Annnd you are working on your book, huh?”  “No…” “What are you writing, then?” What did I have to lose…I told him in broad strokes what I share with you here: A snapshot written by a poet-writer from within Great Sound.

2 November, 2017
Oh, Evensong last night at All Saints… the sound.  To be lifted by sound, taken in by sound.  It was like being in a “convergence spot” in the universe…those places where certain elements come together in “the right way” and more happens.  In this case, it is about a coming together of note-swells.  The clear, pure tones find one another and begin the in-breaking…or the opening and breaking through…I don’t know which…and this builds and builds as more voices, more notes, are added.  And the space…augh.  Acoustic nirvana.  The space is designed for these convergences, designed for the blooming of sound.  And I can’t help but believe that each time, a little bit is left behind to call forth sound, voice, note, the next time.  What a beautiful harmony of space and humanity.

5 November, 2017
Perhaps a choir concert at 4 PM—don’t yet know about that.  Kings’ is singing again. It is always An Experience to hear them.  Ethereal, cosmic, revelatory.  Their sound becomes the veil and we all join them in the crossing-over space.  It is a time of both-and when they sing.  Both-and; here-there…and within the sound, the notes, the music as well.  4:10 PM The choir has begun to sing here at All Saints. Oh, wonder…trumpet and organ together…would not have imagined it, but, oh yes, it works beautifully together. Funny, as I hear them playing together, I hear bits and pieces from other songs. Makes me think about language and phrases authors like to use or the structures they adopt that begin to be characteristic.  Now Paul Halley is conducting…weaving, more like.  OH…he just waited for the sound to dissipate before they hit the next note…reminds me of the last lines of Hopkins’ ‘God’s Grandeur’ –And with-Ah!/ Bright wings. I love those two lines.  That pause.  There is the same or a similar effect with waiting for the sound.  And withina song or ‘piece’ is does seem a deliberate choice—rather than when it happens aftera piece when it makes sense—and it is all the more effective because it doesn’t happen every time.  The overlap or enjambment is effective in a wholly other way. 

Yes, the idea of weaving seems a fitting metaphor…single threads of voices, some thicker and thinner, weaving silver, copper, and gold through the whole cloth of the large group. -—Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,/enwrought with golden and silver light,/the blue and the dim and the dark cloths/of night and lights, and the half-light…—Yes, a little Yeats is here too… And with these voices threading through are jewel toned colors too…mulberry and jade and royal blue and forest…as well as textures…velvet and linen, gauze, silk…all woven together into a tapestry that tells an eternal story… note by note by note.

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