Friday, 29 August 2014

Inspirations: Pax Deinde Venit

How this composition happened.

I am in this world because my Papa survived WWII…..

This composition came a while after I watched a documentary about a remarkable woman, Baronessa Mariuccia Zerilli Marimò who lived through WWII. This passionate walk down memory lane can be watched at:

On this ‘journey’ with her in that video, old spirits were with me in my memory:

My Papa (and two of his brothers and their Papa - the Grandfather who passed away when I was still very small. Pa was in the South African Air Force. He was stationed in Egypt and his eldest brother in Italia. They all survived, no harm. The eldest brother survived a doomed flight merely because he was rescheduled for the next one…..)

Trudie Gunnewegh, a dear Dutch lady from whom I rented a cottage in South Africa. She grew up in the Netherlands and was a young teenage girl during WWII. She told me how it was for the women and children back then over there those years during the war. Touching stories. Some happy, some sad, some terrible.

The one thing these folks and myself have in common, is a love, a passion for music. The Baroness devoted her life and more for the cause of music, she is the Founder of Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò at the New York University. Trudie’s husband was a piano virtuoso, my Pa loved singing and had a nice collection of Nelson Eddy and Joseph Schmidt.

All these folks are survivors of WWII.

The happening for this composition was rather different from all my other compositions so far, it is purely accidental. I stumbled upon something very recently and thought I’d try and ‘force’ a music for piano. I didn’t have any idea how I would do it, I compose for orchestra and avoid using piano.

Yet, when I had the software notation in front of me and clicked that first note, the visions began….. and their music started playing in my heart and soul. I was transferred into my fog and all was suddenly clear.

(and in between I also had to consult my mentor about articulation for piano because my knowledge is still limited – thank You Lorraine)

I dedicate “Pax Deinde Venit” to this great woman, Baronessa Mariuccia, as an appreciation for her spirit that pursued the spirit of music, and with loving memories to those I knew.

It is her spirit that showed me, inspired me the moment I heard the sound of the first note I clicked…..

Great souls just have a way of being there. I thank our Holy Creator for having brought this magnificent spirit into my fog.

I covered a variety of styles in this piece as I was also thinking about music during the time of WWII. At least enemies also had a love for music - I shiver to think what that awful war would have been like if music never existed. It might never have stopped.

I saw in my fog the jazz bands of old, their audiences listening and some listening to the news. I saw the old composers in their sadness as the war ripped their souls. Music is supposed to bring enjoyment, yet all the music was laced with some sad notes.

One can just imagine what happened the moment news of the first surrender came to these crowds. It so happened then that I even touched a bit of jazz in this piece.

As I traveled further in this fog, and I saw a soldier and his wife who married just before he left for the war, I became quite emotional and two old songs sat in me, songs they knew at the time, singing it to each other over thousands of miles. The news of surrender and peace reaches them both at the same time. This part of my composition actually left a basis for those two. The rhythm causes her singing to become as a promise and a prayer.

I actually went ahead and spliced some melodies of those two songs into another piece which, for the time being, I won’t go public with yet until I could find out more about those songs. The imaginative romantic mind will feel their place in the track, though.

And shortly after I finished the piece for piano, I went back to it, adding more voices and their songs.... to paint a bigger picture.

I must be honest, I never ever wanted to have anything to do with piano after a most sad experience in my young teenage years. Yet, when I began this piece, I knew it will be the piano. The reader can trust me when I say INSPIRATION - it is a magnificent tide that washes over you, carrying all the debris away, cleaning the soul. And I've been the happier after, composing many more pieces for piano since.

I believe that music played a big role in causing enemies to give up fighting. Some tried to fight with music, creating contra-actions, believing they will create a better music than their enemy. This first surrender to music then, must have had a silent impact that grew and grew as they all listened.

I want to believe that music will bring peace again.

Who wants to fight if you have a nice music to dance with, sing with? And a music fight doesn’t hurt no-one, it just keeps creating more music which is exactly what happened on all sides during WWII.

Who can deny a good music, who won’t succumb to song? It is this magnificent universal language that speaks even to the coldest heart.

May music bring peace again into our broken world.


May God Almighty bless those who inspired me, those who chose music above a war.

"pax deinde venit"

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