memoryslandscape: (Oh, heart, I would not dangle… | Thrive

(Oh, heart, I would not dangle you down into

the sorry places, but there are things there as well

to see, to imagine.)

Mary Oliver, from section 2 of “Gravel,” The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem (Da Capo Press, 2000)

Source: memoryslandscape: (Oh, heart, I would not dangle… | Thrive

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The Wild Harmonic Adventures of Liszt’s Concert Study No. 3, “Un Sospiro” | The Listeners’ Club

-Timothy Judd

On a technical level, Franz Liszt’s Concert Study No. 3 in D-flat Major, “Un Sospiro” is a skillfully delivered magic trick. Its score sprawls onto three musical staves and it sounds as if it requires, at minimum, three large and dexterous hands. But all of these voluptuous tones are played using an amazing slight of hand. The melody line alternates between the pianist’s left and right hands while the surrounding arpeggios remain smooth and flowing. As the piece progresses, the voicing gets increasingly complex. Listen to the sparkling splashes of color in this passage.

Maintaining all of this with a sense of ease pushes the pianist to the technical brink, and of course that was Liszt’s point. But Concert Study No. 3 is much more than a dazzling technical exercise. It’s also an atmospheric character piece which takes us on some wild harmonic adventures. It goes without saying that Franz Liszt’s innovative harmonies were shocking and way ahead of their time when this music was written in the mid-ninteenth century. Just listen to this passage in which dominant seventh chords from two competing keys momentarily clash. Or listen to the dark Romanticism of the piece’s lamenting final bars. For a moment, a harmonic sequence set on a descending bass line feels poised for a brave new modulation- something like this surprise key change in Liszt’s orchestral tone poem, Les Preludes. There’s a hint of the Dresden Amen, which plays such an important role in Wagner’s opera, Parsifal, completed nearly forty years later. As the final resolution draws near, it’s easy to sense that this is music which doesn’t want to find an ultimate rest. To the end, it’s trying to pull away to some far-flung harmonic world.

And if that’s not enough harmonic adventure for you, listen to Liszt’s alternative ending (not heard in the clip below), based on a descending whole tone scale. As one voice rises, the other falls, while our perception of the home key is temporarily suspended. (Similar ear-twisting chromaticism occurs in this passage from Liszt’s Faust Symphony). Andrew Lloyd Webber pays homage to this kind of mystery-evoking chromatic progression in the final chords of The Phantom of the Opera, which happen to be in the same key as Liszt’s Concert Study.

The subtitle, “Un Sospiro,” (“a sigh”) should be taken with a grain of salt. It was not Liszt’s title, but was later added by an editor in an effort to make the score more salable. Concert Study No. 3 is filled with bold Romanticism- the kind of swashbuckling bravado we hear in much of Liszt’s music.

Here is a performance from William Wolfram’s 2004 Naxos recording:

Source: The Wild Harmonic Adventures of Liszt’s Concert Study No. 3, “Un Sospiro” | The Listeners’ Club

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Indian Roots of Tibetan Buddhism

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By Theodore Roszak

In The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology, Theodore Roszak sought to formulate some general principles that might guide both environmentalists and therapists in their common project of defining a sane relationship to the world around us. The essay that follows has been adapted from the version that appears in the book.

As we approach the end of the twentieth century, there are scientists who believe we may be within sight of a Grand Unified Theory that will embrace all things, all forces, all time and matter. But will such a theory of everything, if we find it, do justice to the very act of seeking for that theory in the first place? Will it explain how a supposedly once dead universe gave rise to this single, burning point of conscious curiosity called the human mind? Certainly no scientific theory we inherit from the past…

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Can Really Bad Poetry Save the Prairie? Or, Let Bad Poetry bloom in every Ditch. 

Utterly brilliant musings by an astonishing writer. I should cut and paste at least one short poem before publishing this to my blog, but I’m afraid I may forget, and it definitely shouldn’t be missed.
Read on…

Kathleen Dean Moore is a philosopher, nature writer, public speaker, and defender of all that is wet and wild.

Source: Can Really Bad Poetry Save the Prairie?

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“Self Portrait” – David Whyte


Self Portrait

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need to change you.
If you can look back with firm eyes saying this is where I stand.
I want to know if you know how to melt into that fierce heat of living falling toward the center of your longing.
I want to know if you are willing to live, day by day, with the consequence of love and the bitter unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.

David Whyte

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Elgar’s Cello Concerto: Elegy for a Vanishing World | The Listeners’ Club


Published on August 31, 2016 by Timothy Judd 


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Howard Hanson: Pastorale for oboe harp and strings Op.38 – YouTube

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When languages die, ecosystems often die with them | Public Radio International

Living on Earth July 15, 2014 · 12:45 PM EDT Writer Max J. Rosenthal
Photo: An Aboriginal performer in Sydney, Australia.

Aboriginal languages in Australia are among the fastest-disappearing tongues in the world. Credit: David Gray/Reuters You probably know that much of the world’s environment is under threat. But a new study says languages are disappearing alongside plants and animals.

This story is based on a radio interview.
Listen to the full interview (link below).

The study, from the World Wildlife Fund, measured the threat to languages using a scale that tracks how threatened species are. Not only are many languages steadily losing speakers, says co-author Jonathan Loh, but “the rate of decline, globally, is actually very close to the rate of decline in populations of wild vertebrate species.”

There’s the obvious threat of in-demand languages, which many people start speaking more and more as the speakers of smaller languages dwindle.
“Thousands of indigenous languages spoken around the world are being replaced by one of a dozen or so dominant world languages like English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese,” Loh says.

But Loh, who’s also a research associate at the Zoological Society of London, says that languages are dying off due to many of the same issues that plants and animals face.

“Some of the drivers that are driving the extinction of biodiversity — such as increasing global population, increasing consumption of natural resources, increasing globalization and so on — are applicable to languages as well,” he says. And that’s no coincidence.

Loh explains that languages have a lot of specific local knowledge built in. “The cultures have evolved in a particular environmental context, so they have an extraordinary amount of traditional ecological knowledge — knowledge of the local species, plants, animals, the medicinal uses of them, the migration patterns of animals behavior,” he says.

So when the languages die off, much of that knowledge goes with them. “Then children stop learning the language, they also stop acquiring that traditional knowledge,” Loh says.

read more …

Source: When languages die, ecosystems often die with them | Public Radio International

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A Gathering of Giants – bioGraphic

Story and Photographs by Tony Wu

It was late afternoon and the sun was low in the sky. I’d spent the entire day, and many days prior, scanning the horizon for signs of life.

My small boat bobbed up and down in the swell. Every now and then, a wave crest slapped its fiberglass hull, creating a resounding clap and shooting a curtain of spray skyward.The shimmering glare of reflected tropical light was overwhelming. I squinted and rubbed my eyes as a haze of brine and dissolved SPF 50 blurred my vision.

When a faint puff of condensation shot into the air on the horizon, I thought it was a mirage, an artifact of fatigue and my compromised senses. But when I saw a second, I knew there was only one thing it could be—the exhalation of a surfacing whale.

Excitedly, I counted a third, then a fourth, a dozen… no, hundreds!That’s how I came to witness a phenomenon few have ever seen before.Skimming over the waves, I stopped the boat a short distance from where I had seen the whales’ last blow and slipped quietly into the sea. I could scarcely believe my eyes.

wow. Read this.

Source: A Gathering of Giants – bioGraphic

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