Translating Music Into Personal Experience
|AIMING FOR SERENITY
Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto was played for the first time in September 1962 at the Lincohn Centre for the Performing Arts in New York. We are going to play for you the second movement this evening. -ABC Radio, “Serenity in Our Time”, A Classical Music Program: 7:05-8:00 pm, 3 October 1997.
You produced such sweet notes1
almost from afar, from some supernal realm,
some celestial portals opening there,
breezes and fragrances of serenity
cascading in my days,
quite unknown to me, entering
this my wondrous surging sea;
I had just entered the pioneering field,
young and innocent and under the wing
of His oceanic sounds, producing
a different tune than yours, notes
within some celestial chambers
that I sang on strange streets,
with cold winds blowing in my heart,
aloneness troubling me so near—
and sometimes intense fear.2
1 The composer Samuel Barber produced his Piano Concerto the same month I went pioneering for a Movement that claimed to be the emerging world religion on the planet in September 1962.
2 These last few lines evoke, from a distance, the first troubled times of my pioneering life in Dundas in the fall, the winter and spring of 1962-1963 when I used to walk through the back streets of that little town near Dundas District High School, saying prayers to sooth my troubled spirit, but still I was troubled.
4 October 1997