Archive for January 6th, 2010

I love the music of Andrew Lloyd Weber, especially the soundtrack and lyrics of Phantom of the Opera. I find it simply delicious that the fearsome phantom is in fact a wounded soul who wraps himself in music for comforting. While he is a malevolence at one level, and a frightening presence for Christine, he is also her “angel of music,” and a stand-in, albeit a false one, for the father she so misses who was a deep lover of music also. Her sweet coloratura meets the baritone of the phantom in exquisite melodies.

We know, of course, that the relationship is wrong and doomed to failure. We know also that there is genuine love there, especially in the end when the Phantom does what Raul cannot, let Christine go. How many men could do that? The phantom is a complex character. It is not so simple as hating him as a monster. Nonetheless, we are left in an emotional quandary, so it is best to return to the glory of the music.

Music is a sacred passageway to the knowledge of the Heart for which words are neither required nor ever adequate. Words can punctuate the power of music or weaken it depending upon the partnership quality of composer and lyricist. It is a great spiritual practice to immerse oneself often in music and allow it to transport. It is even better to sing or play music on an instrument of one’s choice and so enter into the purity of the focus that comes after a great deal of practice.

As a young man, I studied voice for four years at the Manhattan School of Music. Opera was the future I then dreamt about. My voice teacher was a psychologist in her own right. She would hear me sing and make comments I still recall, like:” the voice is beautiful and technically correct but your heart lies elsewhere. How are you feeling? What’s happening in your life.”

Singing requires total presence if it is to be genuine. It is a great practice in being present and serves as a reminder of what it means to be present before the sacred: no artifice, no pretending, not technique, not even the words per se, but an opening of one’s heart in love, abandoning oneself to the beautiful.

© Brother Anton and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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