26.5.12

as i looked, the world was perfumed with beauty within us all

wee rabbit always sees the world a bit different from me.
and he sees loads of beauty. from the distillery.

as the semester is reaching its end, ive been lucky to gain some personal 'empty' space in my life.  though i do enjoy most aspects of my work in music, there are times when 60+ hrs/wk ends up spelling: go away.  though the best perk of it is to realize that once i can move away from it, i can really see how beautiful it really is.

what is 'it?' i have a hard time defining what 'it' may be- to call it music would be too simple.  it is music, yes, but it's not just any music that lifts us the mortals out of the daily grind into something special.  and one has one's own preferred genre of music as well.  one day it may be the dark side of the moon. next day perhaps a bit of bluegrass.  perhaps it may be the reminiscence of musical experience- the very song your mother sang to you when you were so small that you were held lightly in her arms, rocking gently.  i remember brandenburg no. 6 with memories of warm, declining early afternoon winter sun through the window.  it sounded like beautiful piece of wood- later i learned that the name of the tree is amboyna burl.  i dont really know how old i was but i remember wearing a gingham checkered dress that my granny made for me that i saw so often in old pictures- 4 years? haha.

this week, as i looked around the world with curious eye (not a darting, focused eye for work!), i realized it's the last week of handel's semele at the canadian opera company.   though coc tickets are real hot in this town, they do have rush tickets for same day release- so i went, enlisting one of my fav friends in town, ms. caroline.

semele is a silly opera.   semele's dad (cadmus) thinks semele should marry a prince (athamas). seleme does not want to, she loves not a man but jupiter (haha).  semele's sister (ino) however loves the prince, but dang, that man is not for her! so everyone's unhappy. till jupiter comes down and takes semele in form of eagle (which is load more dignified than his last disguise, swan, with leda), to take her as a 'young thing' to play with. jupiter's wife (juno) is pissed- can a god stop sleeping around?! in effort to get rid of semele, juno tempts semele and plants an idea to request jupiter to reveal his godlike self (as that will fry her dead, but alas, seleme has no idea) so there it goes: young thing twists jupiter to grant her a wish, so he does (totally bewitched), only to realize that semele's wish will kill her. well, word is word, he keeps his word and semele dies, as a mortal who is in presence of immortal.  however, in very silly operatic plot twist, from ashes for semele came bacchus (wine/drinking/party god) and all rejoices.

when one reads the plot, any sane man would wonder: this is wonderful? it makes sense? what do YOU eat for breakfast?!

see, this is where the practical world ends and music begins.  even such a dumb plot can be the pathway to absolute beauty.  esp. in competent person's hands- like handel.  he had a large output- and not all of them are of 'quality,' but semele, along with giulio cesare and (in)famous messiah, are certainly of his best works. from semele, these two arias are my favorite: oh sleep, why dost thous leave me (semele) and where'er you walk (jupiter). jupiter's aria is a rather simple idea: the world that changes immediately in presence of love through an admirer's eyes.  we've all been there. the air is sweeter. water is more refreshing.  etc.

love that is greater than just lovers.  ive seen this in the eyes of child, with parents.  an artist with his/her favorite instrument (letting them become greater than mere mortals, even just for a flash).  a small puppy looking up to the owner: daddy!  and yes, also through romantic and platonic love.  i do have friends who can transform my day by just being there.

http://youtu.be/dFi4yEyTZXE

where'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade;
trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade;
where'er you tread, the blushing flow'rs shall rise;
and all things flourish where'er you turn your eyes.
(libretto by william congreve)

and for days afterward, this aria is quietly running through my vein.

perhaps it is the wonderful weather- where the sun pulls up the life from the ground, pumping through every new green leaf that now waves in the wind.  may be it's the expectation of the summer coming- as i am fortunate to head out to the hills of peak district in a week or so.  is it the little communications i now can see as i have more leisure and time, between all the characters i see as life passes by- passer-bys, young lovers without thick coats in sun...

may be it's the concept of the text itself.  that what is beautiful is not necessarily any different than the boring old normal life.  the ordinary world is already beautiful.  one just need to find the right angle, just a small adjustment where one stands, a change in pace of life- and voila, once one is settled and focused, the outside world is miraculously transformed.

the production was lovely.  and though ms. archibald was truly wonderful as semele, for now, my favorite aria shall remain where'er you walk.  spring, time of change.  perhaps it is inevitable that i am pulled into a full swing of change- upward, outward, a long arc, flight trajectory, away from the daily works for a bit, gliding through many different emotions and thoughts that has accumulated during the busy winter working days.

could i be more lucky in this world? aha. i think not.
with that lovely line: and all things flourish where'er you turn your eyes, i look inward and find the people i love dearly.  people who are close. who are far. who are with me. who understands me. who does not understand but loves me. people who i want to love. the living ones. the ones who left us in this world.  time passes without any hesitation and i may as well tag along on this great swing of change.  much love to you all- and let us not forget about such simple magic for the daily life: it's already here. we just have to look. beauty surrounds us. as other genius, pablo neruda says: as if you were on fire from within, the moon lives in the lining of your skin.

good day/evening to my lovely friends!
from a simple monkey who finally looked away from daily grind.
and found you guys, changing my ordinary world into magic.

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