Monday, March 12, 2012

4. The Glance

On the album, I wrote:
“A single glance from the beloved is enough to inspire a lifetime.  For my wife Bev. 

The genesis of the piece lies really in the heart and origin of Dante’s “Divine Comedy”!  This masterpiece of spirituality (and literature) was written by the Florentine in the latter part of his life, therefore in the 13th Century.  Its basic premise is that the narrator “awakes midway through this life in a savage wood”, discovering he has unconsciously wandered off the true path.   He can see the highway through the woods up above, but when he tries to go there directly, he is prevented by three savage beasts (symbols of his own lower nature).   Soon, he encounters a guide, sent to him through the prayers of one in heaven who is watching out for him, Beatrice.  He learns that the only way back to the true path is to travel an entire journey through hell and purgatory and heaven itself, to see what the results of all of one’s actions are.  

One of the most astounding things about this great work is that it is not directly through the Blessed Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, but through an actual earthly woman connected to Dante whose love will guide him all the way (albeit through the power of the Blessed Virgin Mary).  Thus, Dante establishes a complete and total continuum of love, creating a highway from the earthly to the divine.  Although the Church has always taught the sacramental nature of the love relationship, this goes light years further than mere theology, and really connects with our own personal experiences of a real life lived here and now.

Now, the second astounding thing about the genesis of this master work is that Dante fell in love with Beatrice at the age of 9, after seeing her once on the streets of Florence.  And, although he saw her again a few times, their families were not close, and eventually he grew up, married someone else, had children.  But when it came time to symbolize the great mystery of the journey of redemption, he went back to this primal, seminal mind-blowing event that had clearly stayed quite bright and living all through his life.

At this point, my own personal story joins the stream.  I had been working on the piece at the time my wife Bev was suddenly and taken ill, (totally out of the blue and without any antecedent conditions).  Within six weeks, she succumbed.  However, at the very last minute, we were somehow granted, totally unexpectedly and against all medical odds, to share a glance together for about two minutes just before she passed.  And that was when the musical piece was completed, as I added the final tolling of a bell at the end, and the lingering farewell of the conclusion.

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