We humans like to believe that we have control over the course of our lives. The point of human Faith in this model is that we can build and shape our lives through positive action. However, there are important caveats. We live in the broader context of nature, in a universe that is mainly cold and inhospitable to life; one of life’s few certainties is our eventual death.
To build a sustainable future, we must honestly assess our place in nature, and act in ways that demonstrate our appreciation of its power. One of the greatest threats we face today is the resistance to the reality of the climate change our technologies have helped to bring about.
Our commitment to all persons includes a commitment to the well-being of future generations. We seek to create and maintain conditions under which people can thrive, indefinitely.
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Schoenberg’s massive and epic cantata (Songs of Gurre, referring to Gurre castle in Denmark) begins with a story of forbidden romantic love between a king and a woman from another tribe; turns in part two to pleadings to the gods, and then in part three turns to images of nature. This evolution and transformation suggest that the greatest force is not desire or belief - not love or religion - but nature. Top recorded performances are conducted by Chailly, Sinopoli, Ozawa, and Thielemann.
- Part 1: Nun dämpft die Dämm’rung; O wenn des Mondes Strahlen; Roβ! Mein Roβ!; Sterne jubein; So tanzen die Engel vor Gottes Thron nicht; Nun sag ich dir zum ersten Mal; Es ist Mitternachtszeit; Du sendest mir einen Liebesblick; Du wunderliche Tove!
- Part 2: Tauben von Gurre!; Herrgott, weiβt du, was du tatest
- Part 3: Erwacht, König Waldemars Mannen wert!; Deckel des Sarges klappert; Gegrüβt, o König; Mit Toves Stimme fluster der Wald; “Ein seltsamer Vogel ist so’n Aal . . .”; Du strenger Richter droben; Der Hahn erhebt den Kopf zur Kraht; Orchestervorspiel; Herr Gänsefuβ, Frau Gänsekraut; Seht die Sonne
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major for violin & viola, K. 364 (320d) (1779) (approx. 31-34’). The first of three movements (Allegro maestoso) is characteristically bright and sunny, all the voices working together and supporting each other, joyously. The second movement (Andante semplice) is an extended pause for pondering and reflection: if a goal is in mind, it will not come easily. The third movement (Presto) is ebullient. Apparently, working together has created a bright future. “The singing Allegro of the first movement is utterly galant—elegant in its simplicity—and is a small but perfectly cast sonata form. The Andante fulfills the standard role of minuet and trio . . . The Presto is the simplest of the three movements, as if Mozart knows he has done enough and is content to waive a cheerful farewell to the audience.” “In pairing the violin and viola, Mozart did not make the lower voice a ‘second’ part; if anything, it is more deeply emotional, adding richness to the work’s harmonic textures.” The work “bursts with the joy of exploring new instrumental sound combinations and possibilities. It also marks a sort of turning point, in essence summing up much of what Mozart had achieved to date as an artist.” Top recorded performances are by Grumiaux & Pelleccia in 1964; Brown & Imai in 1989; Brown & Tornter in 1995 ***; Fischer & Nikolić in 2006; Vengerov & Power in 2006; Carmignola & Waskiewicz in 2007; Podger & Beznosiuk in 2009; and Frang & Rysanov in 2014.
The sunny optimism in Glen Gillis’ album series, “SaxSpectrum: New Music for Alto and Soprano Saxophone” (Volume 1; Volume 2; Volume 3), is palpable. Saxophonists have a bright future, with music like this.
- Nicole Mitchell, “Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds”