Monday, 24 November 2008

The art of giving

I remember being in a class at school - I must have been around 10 years old, if that - and our group reading book was Animal Farm. I still recall the impact and the extraordinary revelation of the words: 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others' ... I was thinking about that as I heard a trailer for Channel 4's recent documentary - Special Needs Pets. Please tell me, what is the world coming to?

It's very sad when one of the truly 'more equal' dies at such a young age , as happened yesterday with the untimely departing of the hugely talented, vibrant and big-hearted Richard Hickox. I last saw Richard on Friday 14th November, when he was conducting the City of London Sinfonia in a wonderfully moving concert that included Purcell's extraordinarily serene and almost over-indulgently slow Funeral Music for Queen Mary, together with a highly charged first London performance of Tavener's enlightened Requiem - containing sections from the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass, lines from the Koran and Sufi texts and Hindu words from the Upanishads and other sources.

John Tavener wrote the following about his work:
"The essence of this Requiem is contained in the words 'Our glory lies where we cease to exist'. That is, when one's false self is extinguished, the true self shines forth, and we have, in a way, become one with God. But this realisation is beyond most human beings, which is why religion exists, and why the perennial truth of all the great religious traditions centres on this concept. The absolute freedom that results from this oneness can only belong to the being that, liberated from the conditions of manifested existence, has become absolutely one with its principal and its origin ... Today, the different religions are often in conflict with each other, but inwardly every religion is the doctrine of the self and its earthly manifestations. That is to say there is only One Being: minerals, animals, plants and human beings are all part of that self ... The purpose of our existence in this world is precisely to understand the true nature of what we are."

This blog is dedicated to musical genius - such things should be valued and treasured - and the ability to appreciate should be passed on to future generations. However, as life is so short and precious, I'd also like to draw your attention to some of the collectable curiosities on offer at ShopCurious:

If you love beautiful sounds and want to invest in a unique gift, or something that's got a bit of provenance and might also be appreciated in years to come, why not consider this rare recording of two amazing pieces of music with timeless appeal by the Modern Jazz Quartet? This 1950s EP is presented in its rather arty and stylish original cover too.

I hope you're not going to say that you'd prefer a designer handbag ...

Are you?

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