Sing the Universal

    Sanford Baran:  The following meditation was created as a soundscape, an audio essay comprised of recorded music interspersed with some spoken words. It was presented during our May 24th, 2019 Tone of Life teleconference. I invite you to listen and touch the power and magic of spirit as it reveals its universal nature through musical form. I also invite you to sound that tone yourself, to sing the universal in all of your moments..

Click this link to listen to a high-quality stream of this podcast (it runs about 36 minutes): http://www.archangelicbody.org/recordings/Sing the Universal.mp3

Listing of musical selections:

1. (0:00)
Composed and performed by Christopher Willits
Album: The Art of Listening (Original Score Soundtrack) (2017)

Christopher Willits an electronic and ambient musician describes music as “a medicine that allows us to feel, listen, and ultimately surrender to the present moment.” We begin our meditation by allowing our minds and hearts to come to a point of stillness, surrendering to the present moment—surrendering to that which is transcendent.

2. (Starting at 1:27)
Home Is
Composed by Jacob Collier and performed by VOCES8
Album: Djesse, Vol. 1 (2018)

Music is an expression of tonal vibration, and harmony occurs as there is a blending of many tones. In this piece wunderkind Jacob Collier stretches our experience of what harmony can be, opening up vistas of tonal blending that only begin to hint at the creative possibilities. But for this to happen each individual note that is sounded must be accurate and pure. The singers of the choral ensemble VOCES8 masterfully do this, allowing a magnificent and resonant aural tapestry to emerge.

3. (Starting at 7:08)
Prelustri Elucentia
Composed by Petrus de Grudencz and performed by Vox Clamantis
Album: Filia Sion (2012)

How delightful to listen to the intimacy and delicacy of these two tenors from the Estonian vocal ensemble Vox Clamantis, who share their agreement in chant. The rich reverberant acoustics of the recording setting, inside the Dome Church of St. Nicholas, Haapsalu in Estonia is quite extraordinary.

4. (Starting at 9:43)
Walking Song
Composed and performed by R. Carlos Nakai
Album: Canyon Trilogy (Deluxe Platinum Edition) (2015)

From the earliest days until the present time, indigenous people of North America have incorporated music into their spirituality, celebrations, and everyday lives. In this piece we can’t help but be stirred by premier native American flutist Carlos Nakai as he creates mystical sounds that characteristically echo in the canyons and valleys of the vast Southwest. In listening to these ancient strains, one is reminded of our own deep connection to the earth and our unique place within the vastness of the whole.

5. (Starting at 12:39)
Meditation on a Landscape
Composed and performed by Wolfgang Dauner, Charlie Mariano, Tagore & Ernst Ströer
Album: Meditation On a Landscape - Tagore (1992)

Jazz saxophonist Charlie Mariano was keenly interested in combining eastern and western musical idioms. This particular piece is an interesting example of what he had in mind, a fusion of western jazz with Indian meditative musical elements. Both forms are very much attuned to improvisation, so they very naturally complement each other and allow what is flowing in the moment to organically take form.

6. (Starting at 17:37)
Kreegi vihik, "Kreek's Notebook": I. Nüüd ole, Jeesus, kiidetud
Composed by Tonu Korvits and performed by Royal Holloway Choir
Album: Kõrvits: Kreek's Notebook (2013)

Some lovely choral sounds set against pizzicato strings provides a beautiful and heavenly atmosphere for this joyous hymn, lilting almost like a lullaby.

7. (Starting at 21:53)
Tamalpais High (At About 3)
Composed and performed by David Crosby
Album: If I Could Only Remember My Name (1971)

This is a tune off of David Crosby’s first solo album. He’s accompanied by Graham Nash on vocals; Jorma Kaukonen, who in 1971 was with the Jefferson Airplane; and Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzman of the Grateful Dead. It has a bittersweet and gentle quality and is free of the human nature impurities that often are a staple in popular music.

8. (Starting at 25:17)
Bless the Lord, My Soul
Composed by Cyrillus Kreek and performed by Vox Clamantis
Album: Cyrillus Kreek: The Suspended Harp of Babel (2020)

Next a lyrical rendering of the 104th psalm, “Bless the Lord, My Soul,” beautifully sung again by the Vox Clamantis choral ensemble.

9. (Starting at 27:34)
Composed and performed by Jacob Collier & Kathryn Tickell
Album: Djesse, Vol. 2 (2018)

Another Jacob Collier composition, this off of the second volume of his four-volume project entitled Djesse (Volume 3 is close to being released soon). I was drawn to this particular selection because of the mysterious primordial sounds of the uilleann pipes that play throughout the piece. These Irish bagpipes are made especially for ceremony and are only ever played for weddings, spiritual occasions and at sacred sites.

10. (Starting at 29:01)
Sweet Hour of Prayer
Traditional Hymn performed by Anonymous 4
Album: American Angels - Songs of Hope, Redemption, & Glory (2004)

In this selection we hear the heavenly voices of the Anonymous 4 sing this traditional Christian hymn. Prayer is rightly the experience of bringing heaven into the earth. How sweet and fulfilling to be an expression of true prayer.

11. (Starting at 32:12)
Irish Tune from County Derry (Londonderry Air)
Composed by Percy Grainger and performed by Moye Chen
Album: Four Worlds (2018)

We end our listening time together with a delightful tune that has a lot of heart. I know it touches my heart. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall sing the universal. How wonderful to allow that which is universal to be our own living experience.

Pre-Service Music
      Evening Song No. 2
Composed by Philip Glass and performed by Timo Andres

May 24, 2020

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