Saturday, December 27, 2014

Music must take rank as the highest of the fine arts -- as the one which, more than any other, ministers to the human spirit.

-- Herbert Spencer

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Inspiriation may be a form of super-consciousness, or perhaps of subconsciousness, I wouldn't know.  But I am sure it is the antithesis of self-consciousness.

-- Aaron Copland

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Music is not man's invention, but his heritage from the blessed spirits.

-- Tomas Luis de Victoria

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Encourage good music and art and literature in your homes.   Homes that have a spirit of refinement and beauty will bless the lives of your children forever.

-- Ezra Taft Benson

Saturday, November 29, 2014

So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning.

-- Aaron Copland

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Any composer who is gloriously conscious that he is a composer must believe that he receives his inspiration from a source higher than himself.

-- John Philip Sousa

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It is my hope that during my brief passage through this universe, that I may share with you the joy of hearing the music of the stars . . . knowing that the composer was from a distant place and the songs were written eons ago, which now fall gently on this place for all to hear.

-- Richard H. Baker

Saturday, November 8, 2014

To send light into the darkness of men's hearts -- such is the duty of the artist.

-- Robert Schumann

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It was a music more tangible than form or sight.  It had essence and structure. . . . It seemed to travel with her [Meg], to sweep her aloft in the power of song, so that she was moving in glory among the stars, and for a moment she, too, felt the words Darkness and Light had no meaning, and only this melody was real.

-- Madeleine L'Engle
(from A Wrinkle in Time)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A painter paints pictures on canvas.  But musicians paint their pictures on silence.

-- Leopold Stokowski

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.

-- Confucius

Saturday, October 11, 2014

We know an age more vividly through its music than through its historians.

-- Rosanne Ambrose-Brown

Saturday, October 4, 2014

If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.

-- Gustav Mahler

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A song will outlive all sermons in the memory.

-- Henry Giles

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.

-- Alphonse de Lamartine

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Music is a moral law.  It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.

-- Plato

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.

-- Ludwig van Beethoven

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.

-- Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Music is a tone of voice, the sound life uses to keep the living alive.

There never was a sound that was not music -- there's no real trick of creating words to set to music -- once you realize that the word is the music and the people are the song.

-- Wood Guthrie
("There's a Feeling in Music")

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Seek not to know, and do not dare to ask
Why you are here, or what your fate will be.
Be still and listen to the symphony
Which your surroundings play in unity.
The part cannot exist without the whole;
The whole cannot exist without the part;
And reason has no place in cosmic art.

-- Robert Goslin
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

And this that forever shall spur us and lead us from peak unto peak on the way
Till body and spirit be welded in one and the long Night fall on the Day,
And all the sonorous music of time, the hills and the woods and the wind and the sea,
The one great song of the whole creation, of all that is and that yet shall be,
Chanted aloud as a paean of joy by the Being whose home is the vast
Shall tremble away in silence, and all be gone at the last,
Save only afar in the Heart of the Singer of whom it was chanted and heard
Remembrance left of the music as a sunset-fire in the west,
Remembrance left of the mighty Enchanted Palace that rose at His Word,
This, and a joy everlasting, an immense inviolate rest.

-- Clifford Bax
(in Poetry of the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

And this is the meaning of man,
   The task of the soul,
The labour of world, and the plan
   That is set for the whole.
For the spark of the spirit imprisoned within it,
   In all things one and the same,
Aeon by aeon and minute by minute,
   Is longing to leap into flame,
To shatter the limits of life and be lost in a glory intense and profound
As the soul with a cry goes out into music and seeks to be one with the sound.

-- Clifford Bax
(in Poetry of the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

To whom shall I send my hymn of praise --
This yearning of my heart?
It seeks voice to give value
To that which is beyond all value --
But it remains silent.
It only says:  'I am happy.'
The rhythm comes to a stop,
But its cadence says:  'I am blest.'

-- Rabindranath Tagore
(in Poetry of the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

O Thou Poet, great and primal, in the rhythm of Thy thought
The sun and moon arise and move toward their setting;
The stars, shining like bits of gems, are the fair characters
In which Thy song is written across the blue expanse of sky.

-- Ramakrishna (trans. S. Nikhilananda)
(in Poetry of the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dance, my heart:  O dance to-day with joy!
The hymn of Love filleth the days and the nights with music,
   and the world hearkeneth to the melody.

Mad with joy, Life and Death dance to the rhythm of this music.
The hills and the sea and the earth dance;
The world of man danceth in laughter and tears.

-- Ramakrishna (trans. S. Nikhilananada)
(in Poetry of the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

 . . . . Soon shall the song
   That rolls all down the ages blend its voice
With our weak utterance and make us strong;
   That we, borne forward still, may still rejoice,

Fronting the wave of change.  Thou who alone
   Changeless remainest, O most mighty Soul,
Hear us before we vanish!  O make known
   Thyself in us, us in Thy living whole.

-- Edward Carpenter
(in Poetry of the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The harp at Nature's advent strung
   Has never ceased to play;
The song the stars of morning sung
   Has never died away.

And prayer is made, and praise is given,
   By all things near and far;
The ocean looketh up to heaven,
   And mirrors every star.
             . . .
The blue sky is the temple's arch,
   Its transept earth and air,
The music of its starry march
   The chorus of a prayer.

-- John Greenleaf Whittier
(in Poetry of the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

He fumbles at your soul
As players at the keys
Before they drop full music on.
He stuns you by degrees,
Prepares your brittle nature
For the ethereal blow
By fainter hammers further heard,
Then nearer, then so slow
Your breath has time to straighten,
Your brain to bubble cool,
Deals one imperial thunderbolt
That scalps your naked soul.

-- Emily Dickinson
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A hymn, an incense rising toward the skies,
As our whole like should rise;
An offering without stint from earth below,
Which Love accepteth so.

-- Christina Rossetti
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

All voices of all things inanimate
Join with the song of Angels and the song
Of blessed Spirits, chiming with
Their Hallelujahs.  One wind wakeneth
Across the sleeping sea, crisping along
The waves, the brushes thro' the great
Forests and tangled hedges, and calls out
Of rivers a clear sound,
And makes the ripe corn rustle on the ground,
And murmurs in a shell;
Till all their voices swell
Above the clouds in one loud hymn
Joining the song of Seraphim,
Or like pure incense circle round about
The walls of Heaven, or like a well-spring rise
In shady Paradise.

-- Christina Rossetti
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

O we can wait no longer,
We too take ship O soul
Joyous we too launch out on trackless seas,
Fearless for unknown shores on waves of ecstasy to sail,
Amid the wafting winds, (thou pressing me to thee, I thee to me, O soul,)
Caroling free, singing our song of God,
Chanting our chant of pleasant exploration.

-- Walt Whitman
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

In holy music's golden speech
   Remotest notes to notes respond:
Each octave is a world; yet each
   Vibrates to worlds its own beyond.

-- Aubrey de Vere
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Thy light alone -- like mist o'er mountains driven,
   Or music by the night-wind sent
   Through strings of some still instrument,
   Or moonlight on a midnight stream,
Gives grace and truth to life's unquiet dream.

-- Percy Bysshe Shelly
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Dust as we are, the immortal spirit grows
Like harmony in music: there is a dark
Inscrutable workmanship that reconciles
Discordant elements, makes them cling together
In one society.  How strange, that all
The terrors, pains, and early miseries,
Regrets, vexations, lassitudes interfused
Within my mind, should e'er have borne a part,
And that a needful part, in making up
The calm existence that is mine when I
Am worthy of myself.  Praise to the end!

-- William Wordsworth
(from The Prelude)
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Break forth into thanksgiving,
Ye banded instruments of wind and chords;
Unite, to magnify the Ever-living,
Your inarticulate notes with the voice of words!
Nor hushed be service from the lowing mead,
Nor mute the forest hum of noon;
Thou too be heard, lone eagle! freed
From snowy peak and cloud, attune
Thy hungry barkings to the hymn
Of joy, that from her utmost walls
The six-days' Work by flaming Seraphim
Transmits to Heaven!  As Deep to Deep
Shouting through one valley calls,
All worlds, all natures, mood and measure keep
For praise and ceaseless gratulation, poured
Into the ear of God, their Lord!

-- William Wordsworth
(from On the Power of Sound)
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

When the eye of wisdom opened in me, all duality and unity disappeared;
A great wonder possessed my soul, neither subject nor object remained.
When the music of Reality fell on mine ear, all other sounds ceased;
Love withdrew all name and form from my being: sorrow and joy vanished forever.

-- Nazir
(trans. by H. P. Shastri)
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sometimes with His beauty He sets the heart on fire,
Sometimes He induces ecstasy.
Those who know Him cry with one voice:
'He is the singer, He the song and He the music.'

He speaks through every tune, He is manifest in every melody.

-- Nazir
(trans. by H. P. Shastri)
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

O thou, that sit'st upon a throne,
With harp of high majestic tone,
     To praise the King of Kings;
And voice of heaven-ascending swell,
Which, while its deeper notes excel,
     Clear, as a clarion, rings.

-- Christopher Smart
from The Song to David
(in Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

O may we soon again renew that song,
And keep in tune with heaven, till God ere long
To his celestial consort us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light.

-- John Milton
(in Poetry for the Spirit,
edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

. . . Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold.
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins:
Such harmony is in immortal souls
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

-- Shakespeare
(in Poetry for the Spirit,
edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A heart that to God's will
Submits in patience mute
Loves to be touched by Him:
It serves God as His lute.

-- Angelus Silesius (trans. Anon.)
(in Poetry for the Spirit,
edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The flute of the Infinite is played without ceasing, and its sound is love:
When love renounces all limits, it reaches truth.
How widely the fragrance spreads!  It has no end, nothing stands in its way.
The form of this melody is bright like a million suns; incomparably sound the vina, the vina of the notes of truth.

-- Kabir (trans. Rabindranath Tagore)
(in Poetry for the Spirit,
edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

At whose blest sound divine
My soul that in forgetfulness hath lain
   With a new light doth shine
And unto memory plain
   Of its first splendid origin attain.

Up through the fields of air
It wings, till in the highest sphere it dwells
And a new music there
It hears, music that wells
Undying, and all other kinds excels.

-- Luis de Leon (trans. Anon.)
(in Poetry for the Spirit,
edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

To strains immortal full of heav'nly fire,
My harp I tune well strung with vocal wire;
Dear to divinity a friend I praise,
Who claims those notes a God alone can raise.

-- Porphyry (trans. Thomas Taylor)
(in Poetry for the Spirit,
edited by Alan Jacobs)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.

-- Bruce Springsteen

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Close the ears that track the outer world
Open the ears of the soul
The song of creation, the unstruck chord,
Is playing in your heart . . .
Listen in.
Meditating on the sound of your own life currents,
Enter the shimmering palace of the Creator.

-- Sutra 91
(The Radiance Sutras,
translated by Lorin Roche)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Silence allows the listener's music to be heard.

-- John Cage
(Silence, Lectures and Writings by John Cage)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Music symbolizes the yearning for harmony -- within oneself, with others, with nature, and with the spiritual and sacred within us and around us.  There is something in music which transcends and unites.

-- The Dalai Lama
(In his address to the World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles, 1999)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Music fills the infinite between two souls.

-- Rabindranath Tagore
(The Fugitive)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Perhaps the greatest spiritual love may be best spoken through song.

-- Christine Stevens
(Music Medicine)