It was over the top and reeked slightly of corn, what I wrote in that final sentence last night here in “6:56”. But, as I amended it with a note, the sentiment remains. I could not/cannot explain, apparently, what was going through my mind; it would take more than words.

Moving on from that we have Sabbath approaching soon and I shall light candles for it in a bit.

I thumbed again through the B section and have chosen Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, a recording by the London Symphony led by Sir George Solti. I have begun it early enough that I have the volume up to a lower balcony level in a decent hall. It is stunning, the music that is coming from those grooves.

The idea behind a concerto you know already, that it features one or more instruments prominently at various times. This concerto features the entire orchestra, every part of it coming into its own throughout.

That strikes me as what life in community is like, community as in communal living. The image of the body is used in the New Testament, and it is a very good image. Some parts of the human body are more prominent than others, and this varies, even, by the individual, but life is best—healthier—when each part works with all the others in concert. Community, then, is a concerto for the soul.

Of course, the idea of romantic love and a consequential union of two further strengthen the image. The two unite, and if their idea of sanctified living is to live in community for and with one another, as well as for others (with the others at times), serving the entire body, well, then we have something quite special. And it is all done with and within the One who is with us always, Emmanuel, and for him too.

All of that is what is coming to mind as I listen to this brilliant composition, performed with no discernible flaw. I intend, after this recording, to pull out my second copy of it performed by the Montreal Symphony with Charles Dutoit. I have it on CD, high bit-rate digital, and vinyl. It is another vinyl night, so I will turn the light out and the volume down slightly out of consideration for my neighbor, and as a sign that I do value the idea of the larger community too, and listen to it only by the Sabbath candles (and with the light of shared community, a Sabbath communion).

We could, of course, use concentric circles to illustrate all of this. We will start with the larger, boundless “circle” to represent the One who is All, the holy creator in whom we live and move and have our being. Then we have an actual circle to represent the world community, then a slightly smaller circle perhaps for the community of believers. Many smaller circles become each individual’s circle of friends, etc., those whom he/she includes, whoever they are. Near the center is that union of two, a separate thing actually, that is both a closed circle and one with a kind of porous border that allows a flow into and out—to and from—any of the other larger communities. At times, each of the two would become (and indeed, in a way, they remain) an individual circle as unique persons and would separate for a time or no time, even as they are one circle always, within the One boundless noncircle. One and one are three, then.

Maybe this is helpful or not in communicating one of the ways that I see it all as I listen to an entire orchestra in sublime clarity featuring all of its parts as a whole.

I have just begun the second recording, and it is the one. Whatever flaws were lacking in the London/Solti recording, they have never considered themselves ever to have been conceived of in this recording by Montreal/Dutoit. Brilliant, it is a transparent wall of sound, purity on perfect display.

[I have fudged slightly during intermission. I turned the light back on briefly and I am sorting socks. I am done, and oh, that was worthwhile. I am more blessed in socks than I knew. Light out again.]

Oh dear Lord of Music! On the flip side of the Montreal/Dutoit recording is Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, also by Bartok. This performance was recorded as usual in St. Eustache church in Montreal. What flaws? What, even, is a flaw. It is intense, immediate, present. A shroud is lifted revealing something else entirely.

Later, after Sabbath has begun, I will give up Bartok and cease writing, but continue to think and pray about it all.

Here is some other music that is beyond the scope of current reality. It touches deeply and was heard on the radio today at an ideal time as I worked, just about the time that I saw this:


Cantate Domino may be some of the music for a timeless moment after Bartok . . .

I think I will end the day with it streamed directly from this post, as I pray for you and for all the others . . .

Shabbat Shalom . . .

Photograph © 2018 Timothy Waugh