Towards a Concerto of Deliverance
JMC - 10 Jun 2002
I'm starting to give more thought to the meaning of our undertaking; the meaning of
Concerto Of Deliverance. There are so many aspects. I need to understand more fully the source
of your idea, for starters. Yesterday, after returning from our camping sojourn...I attended a
funeral memorial.... It was a deeply emotional occasion. A suicide that no one could understand.
Very difficult public occasion. Although Deliverance is a subject of joy and thanksgiving, I met
with a direct need to reflect on it in other ways because of this event, and I realized how much
emotional territory must be plumbed if I am to create the piece with authenticity, commitment
JMC - 11 Jun 2002
I appreciate the various links you sent. Some references, most probably, are to things you've sent me before, or at least, that I've seen posted elsewhere, but now more contextualized given our project.
I've also been following other threads in connection with Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand. There is much for me to learn and I do need to reread the novel. It was a long time ago. Admittedly my impressions are distorted.
Your music list is an interesting reminder. I'm a great lover of Dvorak's oeuvre, for example. I think one thing that's becoming clear is that the new Concerto Of Deliverance necessitates a return to, an acknowledgment of, my musical roots. Debussy (clarity: I heard Printemps, Nuages & Sirenes again on the radio this afternoon), Weill (joie de vivre) and rock'n'roll (social relevance) would be amongst my influences. Then there's Cage, Beethoven & Miles Davis. Etc, etc. Each choice, each commentary, already feels both limiting and very humbling: there are so many greats! What would account, though, for pieces like Ibistix, Chant For Your Dragon King or Appaloosa-Pegasus? So primal and futuristic.
...We both wish to see a life for Concerto of Deliverance that goes beyond the creation of
the CD recording. I'd like to see the work used subsequently in a variety of ways: surround sound
DVD, live concert with other performers (choir, string quartet, soloists, dancers) etc.
MP - 11 Jun 2002
In this and the next message, I have excerpted a few of the significant passages from Atlas Shrugged that depict themes implied in the Concerto of Deliverance...
...In addition to these passages, I'm including first a passage from Fountainhead (which is a
comparatively shorter novel, but expresses the same general theme), on "the meaning of life".
[Gail Wynand talking with Howard Roark]
"I was thinking of people who say that happiness is impossible on earth. Look how hard they all try to find some joy in life. Look how they struggle for it. Why should any living creature exist in pain? By what conceivable right can anyone demand that a human being exist for anything but his own joy? Every one of them wants it. Every part of him wants it. But they never find it. I wonder why. They whine and say they don't understand the meaning of life. There's a particular kind of people that I despise. Those who seek some sort of a higher purpose or 'universal goal,' who don't know what to live for, who moan that they must 'find themselves.' You hear it all around us. That seems to be the official bromide of our century. Every book you open. Every drooling self-confession. It seems to be the noble thing to confess. I'd think it would be the most shameful one."
"Look, Gail." Roark got up, reached out, tore a thick branch off a tree, held it in both hands, one fist closed at each end; then, his wrists and knuckles tensed against the resistance, he bent the branch slowly into an arc. "Now I can make what I want of it: a bow, a spear, a cane, a railing. That's the meaning of life."
"Your work." He tossed the branch aside. "The material the earth offers
you and what you make of it."
[Dagney regaining consciousness after her plane crash in the valley.]
When she opened her eyes, she saw sunlight, green leaves and a man's face. She thought: I know what this is. This was the world as she had expected to see it at sixteen -- and now she had reached it -- and it seemed so simple, so unastonishing, that the thing she felt was like a blessing pronounced upon the universe by means of three words: But of course.
She was looking up at the face of a man who knelt by her side, and she knew that in all the years behind her, this was what she would have given her life to see: a face that bore no mark of pain or fear or guilt. The shape of his mouth was pride, and more: it was as if he took pride in being proud. The angular planes of his cheeks made her think of arrogance, of tension, of scorn -- yet the face had none of these qualities, it had their final sum: a look of serene determination and of certainty, and the look of a ruthless innocence which would not seek forgiveness or grant it. It was a face that had nothing to hide or to escape, a face with no fear of being seen or of seeing, so that the first thing she grasped about him was the intense perceptiveness of his eyes -- he looked as if his faculty of sight were his best-loved tool and its exercise were a limitless, joyous adventure, as if his eyes imparted a superlative value to himself and to the world -- to himself for his ability to see, to the world for being a place so eagerly worth seeing. It seemed to her for a moment that she was in the presence of a being who was pure consciousness -- yet she had never been so aware of a man's body. The light cloth of his shirt seemed to stress, rather than hide, the structure of his figure, his skin was suntanned, his body had the hardness, the gaunt, tensile strength, the clean precision of a foundry casting, he looked as if he were poured out of metal, but some dimmed, soft-lustered metal, like an aluminum-copper alloy, the color of his skin blending with the chestnut-brown of his hair, the loose strands of the hair shading from brown to gold in the sun, and his eyes completing the colors, as the one part of the casting left undimmed and hardly lustrous: his eyes were the deep, dark green of light glinting on metal. He was looking down at her with the faint trace of a smile, it was not a look of discovery, but of familiar contemplation -- as if he, too, were seeing the long-expected and the never-doubted.
This was her world, she thought, this was the way men were meant to be and to face their existence -- and all the rest of it, all the years of ugliness and struggle were only someone's senseless joke. She smiled at him, as at a fellow conspirator, in relief, in deliverance, in radiant mockery of all the things she would never have to consider important again. He smiled in answer, it was the same smile as her own, as if he felt what she felt and knew what she meant.
"We never had to take any of it seriously, did we?" she whispered.
"No, we never had to."
Part Three / Chapter II
[John Galt to Dagney when she was deciding to leave the valley.]
"If you fail, as men have failed in their quest for a vision that should have been possible, yet has remained forever beyond their reach -- if, like them, you come to think that one's highest values are not to be attained and one's greatest vision is not to be made real -- don't damn this earth, as they did, don't damn existence. You have seen the Atlantis they were seeking, it is here, it exists -- but one must enter it naked and alone, with no rags from the falsehoods of centuries, with the purest clarity of mind -- not an innocent heart, but that which is much rarer: an intransigent mind -- as one's only possession and key. You will not enter it until you learn that you do not need to convince or to conquer the world. When you learn it, you will see that through all the years of your struggle, nothing had barred you from Atlantis and there were no chains to hold you, except the chains you were willing to wear. Through all those years, that which you most wished to win was waiting for you" -- he looked at her as if he were speaking to the unspoken words in her mind -- "waiting as unremittingly as you were fighting, as passionately, as desperately but -- with a greater certainty than yours. Go out to continue your struggle. Go on carrying unchosen burdens, taking undeserved punishment and believing that justice can be served by the offer of your own spirit to the most unjust of tortures. But in your worst and darkest moments, remember that you have seen another kind of world. Remember that you can reach it whenever you choose to see. Remember that it will be waiting and that it's real, it's possible -- it's yours."
Concerto of Deliverance