One of my favorite musical compositions is Stravinsky’s “Firebird,” written for a ballet in 1910. I can imagine what it is about by listening to the music and letting it take me on a journey.
In the beginning, I can hear stringed basses softly playing a haunting theme that I call “A Rhapsody to the Night.” It moves through the hills and valleys shielded by the darkness, so quiet that you can hear the heartbeat of nature, asleep as to rest from the furious pace of yesterday.
The mystery of the dark stirs the imagination and pumps the heart like a rushing stream, anticipating what evil lurks out there. Or shall a touch of madness be indifferent to harm’s way, fueling the romantic spirit?
The lonely basses are later joined by trombones and others accompanying them to announce the arrival of a new dawn which looks like fire shooting from the earth, ever moving to paint new colors in the sky. Then comes the light of day into view.
Nature’s foliage stretches to reach the sun as if their roots were embedded in the temple and the sun became the hand of God. All is peaceful and quiet now.
Then the thundering wake up call by the piercing sound of the piccolo sends the dark side of man into a frenzy as if marching to victory in battle, fighting to the end. The pygmy in man is wandering unguarded and is becoming a stranger unto the seasons.
But to totally understand the sanctity of joy is also to have felt the pain from the dark side and the fruits of its vanity. To know both joy and suffering is to know to leave one and live by the other.
But when the dark side burns itself out and all hell is shaken, the earth settles down like the aftermath from a furious violent storm. The peaceful rain moistened valleys glistening in the sun, send the fragrance to soothe the senses, and the beauty of the earth is again returned to its rightful place.
The new theme embracing it, is introduced by a lonely sound from an English horn, quiet, haunting, and beautiful. Then later on, harmonious violins caress it like a mother to her newborn; tender, protective, and loving. A marriage of sounds expresses the poetry of the earth.
Then all is joined by a swooping passionate glissando on the harp that sends sparks to the skies and dances with the heavens, and makes my heart sing a passionate symphony to the glory of music.
The finale to the “Fireberd” is introduced by heavy brass heralding a wedding in the cathedral. “I now pronounce you man and wife.” The lonely heart is now a distant memory like the forgotten seasons of yesteryear, and the prophecies of tomorrow shall forever keep pace with the soul of the seasons to come.
The regeneration of life is forever indebted to the gift from God. Passion and passion returned fuel the spirit of life’s longing for itself.
Music is like an aphrodisiac to the spiritual soul of man. When it moves within you, yield to it. For yielding not, takes you out of life’s poetic procession and leaves you astray like the sheep lost from the herd.
When you say, “Music moves me not,” say, “My soul is empty and hungers not.” For all music causes and reaction.
Sing to the glory of God when you hear it. Dance to the rhythm of God when you feel it. Dance to the rhythm of it and let it take you on a journey.