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Posts Tagged ‘Max Richter’

The Australian wildfires are still raging. Sheer devastation. Well over 18 millions acres (think about it as every single inch of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts being burnt to the ground) up in flames along with dozens of lives, thousands of homes and a staggering amount of wildlife. The current estimate that the number of animals and birds is that well over a billion creatures have perished. Those that survive face a grim future with an environment that will take years to rebound.

That is, if it ever can.

It’s heartbreaking. No, it’s more than that. Heartbreaking seems almost too trivial a word for the holocaust taking place. It’s more like a jagged rip in the very fiber of our souls. As helpless as we feel here on the other side of the globe, as hopeless as it seems from such a distance, we must not turn away.

Their horror may well be the future for many of us.

We have been warned for decades that this time was fast approaching but hubris and greed made us ignore and even scoff at the suggestion that we were destroying the environment that had once been so hospitable to us.

I don’t know what the answers are for climate change or even how to properly help our animal and human friends in Australia. But I know I can’t ignore the problem, can’t just shrug and say that my time here is short now that I am well into middle age and that it’s a problem for those younger than me. It’s that sort of ignorance and carelessness that allowed this to happen in the first place.

I am looking for answers, even if they are small. I can’t save Australia with my small donation but maybe it can help one small displaced creature, plant a tree or two or do anything to alleviate the pain caused by our treatment of this earth.

I hope you will look for answers as well.

This Sunday morning music is a song from the great Dinah Washington from back in 1960 called This Bitter Earth. I am also including a version of the song that combines her original vocals with a musical piece from contemporary composer Max Richter, On the Nature of Daylight, which is  a piece of music that I have played here before. The two combine to create a powerful statement that is fitting for this subject and this time.

I hope you’ll listen to both. And don’t turn away. Do even one small thing to help someone on this bitter earth.

 

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I normally don’t rerun posts on Sunday which is when I feature a musical selection. But this week I thought the chosen song matched up well with this post and the painting in it, which is one that feels very personal for me.. So, here’s a post from a few years back accompanied by a selection,On The Nature Of Daylight (Entropy), from contemporary composer Max Richter. It’s a beautiful piece of music.

Have a good Sunday…

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GC Myers- CandleThere are two ways of spreading light… To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.

–Edith Wharton

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This is a new piece,  8″ by 10″ on paper, that I am calling Candle. Working on this painting, I determined that I wanted to keep the composition very simple and stark. There was so much energy in the radiating forms that adding anything beyond the blue panel at the bottom would change the whole feel of the piece as I was seeing it. The blue provides contrast and forms a horizon line that gives the whole image a measure of inward depth without detracting from the simplicity of the image, which I see as being essential to the strength of this painting.

Simplicity, as is often the case, translates as grace. And grace of some form was what began to show in this piece as it unfolded. I was reminded as I worked on this of the great (in my mind, the greatest British artist) JMW Turner‘s reputed dying words: The sun is God. There is a spiritual element in how the sun is depicted in his work and I often feel that I am representing something more than a source of physical light and energy when I paint these sun orbs in my work.

Perhaps that something more is a presence beyond the physical.

I don’t know. But for a moment, my uncertainty is relieved and I feel connected with the warmth and light from the presence that is the sun in this piece.

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Watching the murmurations of starlings is a fascinating and hypnotic thing to see, indeed.  Murmuration is the word for the starling flock and for the intricate dance in the sky performed by these huge groups of birds which often number in the tens of thousands.

The murmurations move gracefully and quickly, creating constantly shifting forms that seem derived from some higher levels of geometry and quantum mechanics than my simple mind can comprehend. I get the feeling when I watch them that I am seeing some essential base element of our universe made visible.

We have never really fully understood the hows and whys of these complex movements. Researchers have found that these displays are almost always set off by a predator such as a falcon near the edge of the group. The group responds as a single unit without an actual leader in order to avoid and distance the group as a whole from the predator.

Researchers believe that this done with something called scale-free correlation which allows birds at any point in the group to instantaneously sense and react to what any other bird in the group, no matter how far away, might be experiencing. Any information moves through the group instantly and without any degradation of the message. It’s like an incredibly complex version of the telephone game. With people passing a simple message along in this game, the message is often garbled beyond recognition within a relatively short time. Here the message is passed tens of thousands of times without missing a word, a comma or inflection.

How they do it remains a mystery. Maybe that’s why they remain so fascinating, to remind us that we still know so little of the grand scheme of things.

For this Sunday morning music here’s a piece, On Reflection, from contemporary composer Max Richter. It is accompanied here by a video of the murmurations of starlings. The music and the flowing motions of the birds create a hypnotic and soothing effect. Give a listen and relax. Maybe you can imagine being part of that murmuration.

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