Monday, May 24, 2010


Yesterday I spent a good hour playing music arranged by the legendary George Shearing, a book Anadel had loaned me.  It was all music that tugs at your heartstrings.
Songs like:
April Love
Blue Moon
Ebb Tide
I’m in the Mood for Love
That Old Feeling
What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
Does anyone even write music like this anymore?  I don’t think so.
The effect it had on me was to stir up that deep pit of emotion, reaching old feelings I had put aside.  It also made me wonder what lies ahead.  There’s something about those diminished chords and the sequences that end in mid-air going nowhere.  
I think I’ll play them again today in addition to my regular fare of Chopin and Rachmaninoff and Misek.  
Much of this music is about yearning for something that might have been or might be, but isn’t now.  When the chords have settled, I ask myself whether we are born in a state of contentment or longing.  
What do you think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evocative post for me, Barbara! I know so well what you mean about the power of music to stir up the depths, crack open closed doors of the heart...

It's not either/or for me with contentment and longing; in some ways my whole life has been a journey of longing, while trying to learn to be content with what is (including with the longing!).

As with old photo albums, letters, or other memory-drenched's good for me to step into certain rooms of my heart occasionally, air them out, notice both what no longer rings true and what does still feel like part of me, make sure I'm not in major denial about something -- catch up with myself where I am now, and remember where I've been (bowing to the past) and feel where I'm wanting to be. Then, it's time to shut those certain doors again until the next visit. Kind of like an inner trip back in time combined with deep spring cleaning of my heart and spirit, different from my daily ongoing spiritual cleansing practice. Playing music can be a catalyst for that, for sure...


12:46 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

I think we are born in a state of longing for contentment. You are right about those old songs. They don't write 'em the way they used to.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Along the lines of what F. said, several years ago, I picked up a CD of an album that I literally wore out when I was in college - Blue by Joni Mitchell. It brought back so many feelings, some of which are no longer very present in me and it was actually kind of difficult to relate to that gorgeous but depressing music in the same way that I had in the past. Thank Goodness!

2:49 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

Years ago we went to a George Shearing concert at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. We go to something at Britt nearly every year, but I remember that concert especially. Laying on a blanket on a grassy hillside, watching the sun go down and the moon and stars come out, the smell of pine and mown grass and that glorious music washing over us like a warm bath. I can close my eyes all these years later and almost BE there. Longing in the music, perhaps, but perfect, complete contentment in the moment.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'm not sure which. I've never been one for contentment, preferring the peaks and valleys of utter bliss and complete despondency; though, I'm not one for longing, either. Just living in the moment - I guess that puts me in the contentment camp?

It always amazes me when a song can evoke the ghost of the feelings of another time and place as songs so often do. Not quite as strong as a smell, it's close.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Anon F, Cyndy -- I knew you would identify with these feelings of mine. Music is so powerful. Those old songs have had a profound effect on me the past couple of days.

Terry -- The concert sounds perfect. Isn't it amazing how we can call up all the details of something so special as though it were yesterday?

Kristin -- You are content as long as you have a trip on the horizon! :)

10:52 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I don't think it's an either/or situation, rather it's both. We long for something and that spurs us on, we're content for a while and we rest, and then we long again. At either end of the balance are those who seem never to long for much, and those who never seem content. And sometimes the yearning is better than the getting...

6:25 PM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

I think the old music makes us feel safe, takes us back to when we didn't have a care in the world.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- The getting is often anticlimactic after so much yearning.

Merle -- You are absolutely right. I listened to much of that music on the radio when I was a child. It was a carefree safe time in my life.

11:31 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home