Rhapsody in Blue – Be Passionate, Be True, Be You!
Today I offer you a rhapsody from my heart. An effusively rapturous and extravagant discourse. My expression of enthusiasm and praise for a musical piece that I absolutely madly deeply adore.
Whoever has read my blog in the past knows that I am passionate about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I have written about it in the past and I listen to it every once in a while when I am happy or when I recharge my inner batteries. Yesterday, as I read one very surprising comment on my blog, I have realised that I have never taken the time to put together all the reasons why I love this musical piece so very much.
The comment came from a BBC Radio 4 producer who is researching for a programme about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I was first of all completely surprised that my post about Gershwin even showed up in an online search. But it was even more exciting for me when I had the joy to discuss on the phone with the producer and I was asked what feelings this particular piece of music awakens in my memory and heart.
If I want to explain what I feel about it I need to rewind my whole life. My memories of it start in childhood when I heard this piece on the radio and have simply fallen in love with it. Coming from a family that loved music, I have listened to both classics and modern music as I grew up. I have fed my spirit with opera played on old magnetic cassettes, with Chopin and Beethoven, with Ravel and Vivaldi, just like I have fed my soul later on in my life with the music of the 80’s and the rock music. When I was a child music was a great joy for us, as in the communism we did not have access to all the variety of entertainment that one can experience now. It was only natural that I fell in love with this piece that infuses Jazz, Impressionism and classical elements molten in a 20th Century romantic theme offered with brittle and quirky interruptions.
This appreciation for the Rhapsody in Blue has continued throughout all my life. Every time when I was defeated and low I have sat and listened to it. Unlike other people with linear lives I have been through many changes, I have witnessed a lot of pain, loss, death, suffering, but also love, joy, sacrifice and hope. Wherever things were worst in my family I was present. Throughout this all, whenever I have listened to this piece of music I have added another pearl of feeling to what has become now a very long string. To me it is now not only music, but a masterpiece and pure beauty. And because it has been with me through it all, happy moments, sad moments and great changes, it has become a part of me and a symbol of life itself.
When I say life I don’t mean only good things. Life has many layers, ups and downs, just like the human mind and heart. There are many shades and colours, numerous moments of darkness and light that create the clear image of our multidimensional reality, a rich kaleidoscope of feelings, moments, images and sounds that create a whole.
Many people don’t know that this piece of music was a commission and that it has been written in a train. This may sound uninteresting for some, what is a train you may say. Well, for me a train means volumes. My father has passed away in a train. I have loved travelling by train all my life. Even now the train is my favourite transportation to wherever I go. It brings memories, it revives moments in my past, it is also (for those who believe that dreams have a meaning) a symbol of change, passage and novelty in one’s life. Gershwin says himself: “It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise… “. He is right, it often happens to me too to hear the tune in the noise…
Rhapsody in Blue was a challenge because it was created in a very short period of time, against the clock, by a young and ambitious Gershwin that didn’t want someone else to steal his idea. This speaks volumes for me again. Under a similar pressure I have left Romania and started a new life in a moment when I felt I must do and I can do more with my life. I was young, ambitious and a bit unaware of what life may bring. But I didn’t care, I had only one thing in my mind- I wanted to make it. I think it is out of such moments of determination that meaningful things get born.
Did you know that the original title was “American Rhapsody”? In the end the title of this piece was inspired by two famous paintings of James Whistler of which one, “Nocturne In Blue And Green of the Thames at Chelsea”, has been rejected and misunderstood in the beginning because it was too modern for the moment when it was offered to the public. There are people who, despite of being rejected for their ideas or passion, carry on and believe in their dream until one day that dream proves to be an extraordinary thing. They may not see all the staircase, but they go up step by step, they simply have faith. It is not easy to believe in your own value when maybe nobody else does, yet being consistent in your efforts brings great results in the end.
Gershwin was not conservatory trained, an awareness of which he carried with him to his grave, and something his arch critics would never allow future students of the piano to forget. Yet, no conservatory teaches talent, so nothing can stand in front of Gershwin’s unique style and genius. Pianists have consistently interpreted Gershwin somewhere between the classicism of Chopin and the 20th Century romanticism of Rachmaninoff, but when it comes to Gershwin’s strict rhythms, what is not heard is more important than what is, for it is the magic of the split-second spacing between the notes that brings Gershwin’s Rhapsody to life in a melodic thread woven itself into a masterpiece.
The Rhapsody, with its composer as soloist, was premiered in front of a packed house that included Rachmaninov, Kreisler, McCormack, Godowsky, Sousa, Heifetz and Stokowski. Even the ones that later did not like it when it was first presented to the public and said it would have been “structurally flawed” have categorised it as a “sentimental” piece. It is as melancholic as my Romanian soul and it is full of feeling and light. It is sad at some points. It is happy, rhythmic and improvised too. Through all these characteristics it is ALIVE. If you would listen to only a part of it, if you would take a bit out of it, if you would listen to it all it would be just as alive, and that is amazing. It is a series of stories put all together, a series of songs that match perfectly in a single, uninterrupted composition of continuous and extravagant enthusiasm.
I have listened to it through various moments in my life and I have understood it in different ways. It speaks to me of happy childhood years. The first clarinet trill reminds me of a new beginning, of a new day, of sunrise. I am an animation movie lover, so when I have seen it translated into image by Disney’s Fantasia 2000 I have added even more meaning to it, as I thought that the animation is a perfect illustration for the hope trapped inside this fabulous piece of music. And I will always remember how I danced on this piece with the man I love. In a moment in time, in a quiet evening, in a quiet flat, in a quiet neighbourhood in London he has taken my hand in his hand and we have danced on this wonderful rhapsody. Our souls were dancing too, we were happy, the heart was full, the world was in the right place and we were in the right feeling.
I love Rhapsody in Blue for many reasons, for the sweet sentimental parts, for the crescendos, for the vivid pace, for the epic dimension of it, for the jazz veins and the classical bursts. My interpretation of it is perfectly subjective, I see it through the lenses of my own soul, maybe different than other people. But for me it represents life itself seen through the eyes of an optimist. Unflawed and tightly woven, with its early 20th Century innocence and brilliant musical statements taken in and out of the performers and listeners souls, Rhapsody in Blue is for me a personal stairway to paradise.
Photos: “Blue”, Adela Galasiu 2013
1500 words, memyselfandela, January 2014
More about Gershwin : Gershwin plays Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue – posted in April 2012
BBC Radio 4 – Soul Music – The stories behind pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact. http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/soulmusic
Come back Love, I have waited for you an eternity. I will wait till I’ll have no more reason to be…
Where I sit,
my windows burst with agony
only traces left of the sunshine.
Screams of pain,
from the bleeding heart within
from my dying fire,
life in a crude acknowledgement
and in the oblivion of my aching mind.
but all is left is this day,
What is dull for others
is a deep dive in the consciousness for me,
my long-lost confession from deserted lives,
memories filling the deep blue sea
as a storm,
scratching lines on my face
and crevasses in my soul,
harbours of quiet
where sometimes only a lost echo
It is through this singular beauty,
the spark inside the chaos,
that I now witness
the only path that represents
I am consciousness.
Hanged like a shroud
the sight of a life lived
an escape from this colourless dimension
through the fire that burns deep inside every breath.
Madness it is, yet it is life
above just a carcass, into the soul
erasing all negative just to give life to life itself.
When I will finally open my windows
my silence will flood the outer universes
and my ardent heart
will cast far away the song of this ephemeral moment
so that my reflected souls outside
will know that we only had this day
Thank you Andre, Vandana and Luna Amara.
222 words, Memyselfandela, January 2014
God, have mercy, let it rain today,
My heart is so black, like my mind in ways.
Oh , there was a time when I could feel his taste.
His smiling eyes before me, tears down my face.
Sin for sale. Lover, will it feed your need?
Tell me, why you planted all these devil’s seeds?
What is now the truth? Can we get it back?
It’s was on the inside but you lost it’s track.
What was clean and pure is now left outside
On these paths of living we walk without guide.
What you knew and hid kills our frail tomorrow.
Bring your love back, lover, I may die of sorrow.
Bring life back, reborn, wash my love with tears
Be not scared to feel, love above all fears.
memyselfandela, January 2014
Stream Of Passion – Darker Days
me arranca la vida.
En cada paso me clavo una espina,
cada momento enciende mi herida.
Soul of mine,
rips life from me.
On every step another thorn,
every moment lights up my wound.]
We can live forever,
we’ll fight on together.
Hold on. Hold on.
We can live forever
if we never surrender.
Hold on. Hold on…
no es lo que parecía.
Dimos sangre y sudor ciegamente
a la voz que nos guía y nos miente.
Soul of mine,
isn’t what it seemed.
We blindly gave blood and sweat
to the voice that guides us
and lied to us]
Will we make it through these days of gloom?
llevo en las venas
un mal que no se olvida.
Soul of mine,
I have in my veins
an evil that can’t…
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ROMANIA ROCKS!!! ROMANIA E MINUNATA !!!
Today is the 1st of December, National Day of Romania. / Azi e 1 Decembrie, Ziua Nationala a Romaniei.
I may be far away with my body but today, as I go to work, I will show a whole world my passion. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve today, I wear it in the open fully exposed! 😀 / Poate ca sunt departe cu trupul dar astazi, cand merg la servici, voi arata unei lumi intregi pasiunea mea. Nu imi deschid inima azi, ci o port la vedere complet expusa! 😀
Happy Birthday Romanians!!! / La Multi Ani Romani!!!
I Love You Romania!!! You Simply Rock!!! / Te iubesc Romania!!! Esti pur si simplu minunata!!!
Photo: memyselfandela December 2013
Corner of the Loner (29.11.13)
Don’t be scared of life, of the cold anonymous world.
Cut the wires that feed your fears.
Live today as if it would be the last day left on the face of Earth
Even if everything may crumble around you.
Don’t listen to your clutched fists
Don’t hear the bad words flying around you.
Don’t hide from your dark side.
You have yourself and your gentle thought rising above your eyebrows.
Join your heart for a ride deep inside yourself,
Turn your arms towards who you really are and embrace your soul.
When you will be your own friend
You will never feel empty again in your silent corner of the loner.
111 words, Memyselfandela, November 2013
More on : Corner of the Loner
I am the shadow inside and the one behind the moon
Trying to live with passion as I feel that life can end soon.
I am my lover’s lover and the fire within the fire
Looking for answers and paths that go beyond any desire.
I am the lunatic that spins thoughts in the sleepless night
Fallen and broken but always ready for my final flight.
memyselfandela, November 2013
Walking In The Air
Come dance on countless whispers, in the pure atmosphere
High above, beyond all worries.
The same lonesome trumpet illuminates my night
Come float with me beyond all words.
I won’t forget you, weary soul
In this dimension where we found each other.
If I would turn the distance in a golden thread
It would lead me far away to the moon.
Our clay existence, the cage of our bodies are nothing
In this realm where our deepest thoughts ignite.
Sleepless nights sublimated in the dark shadow under your loving eyes
Will never ever keep you from floating in the air.
100 words, memyselfandela, November 2013
Photos: memyselfandela, November 2013
You come and go
Swinging between what your heart craves for
and what you don’t even dare.
You talk and say nothing
drifting away between what you need
and what you fear you may not give.
You know and you don’t know
Hesitating between who you are
and who you want to be.
Kill the routine, breath the passion of this life
Stop looking for a path, there’s none
Except for the one only you can carve.
memyselfandela, November 2013
When are you coming,
You weary soul and hungry breath?
I hide your beautiful memory framed
Sleeping deep in the fire of my heart.
My breath rests easy on your chest
As the night blooming in your loving eyes
Comes out of depths of your soul
That you have even forgotten.
What does your heart hide for me,
You dawn ethereal love?
No more tears, no cage of stone
To hide my crumbling being.
The delicate touch of your smile
As you kiss my moonlight shining lips
Awaits for the sun to melt us
In a passionate bud eager to explode.
100 words, memyselfandela, October 2013
A Million Shades of Blue
Shades… A million shades… The afternoon was made out of so many shades between the black and the white.
The sky was not perfectly blue, the heart was not perfectly light, the hope was not really a hope.
If it would have been love or no love at all, all would have been so simple, but the heart was flooded by all those shades of colors and feelings and electricity boldly lingering in their touch. It was a delirium of things and images passing before her eyes while she was processing the remains of the previous days.
“Why is life not simple like in those romantic movies where all is fine?” was the thought lingering in her mind while watching him stop in front of another little shop, with the amazement of a child that has just seen something he was hoping to discover for a lifetime.
Entering the shop she realized that it would make a beautiful present to compensate his birthday. She missed it, it’s true, but not because she didn’t care, but because she didn’t know him yet back then. But still, she would have loved to have been there with him that day, and in her heart she was.
He loved them all. It’s true, they were all beautiful ties, hand made, real, just like he loved to feel authentic and sharp and real…
With a smile in the corner of her soul she sent him to have a look in the back of the store while she took the tie he had admired in the very first moment. 69 pounds, that was the price. It was perfect. The colors were perfect, shades of color, shades of life. The price spoke volumes. To him it would have probably meant an erotic thing, but to her it was a tangible translation of the moon dust trapped inside their bones, of their breath as they were kissing and talking about the muses watching over their love, of the raise and fall of their entwined souls, or the incarnation of all the things that were present in that very second when she wished him happy birthday, now, better later than never.
In the back of her mind there was only a song lingering talking about the raise and fall of the same moon dust that was still shining in his eyes just like that night when they have met the first time, not even knowing if tomorrow will ever come or if there will be a chance for another minute together.
The day was fading, in the corridors of the city, in the tunnels covered in graffiti, as the two lovers were getting back from a city adventure that meant all and nothing, while lights were shining on the side of the road, like fireflies dancing songs known only to themselves.
And the light was dying in millions of shades of obscurity, while the moon, all alone, saw the loneliness crawling back in the souls of the eternal loners.
500 words, memyselfandela, September 2013
The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea At 36
What is life dear friends? Is it a journey, a lesson or a choice? To me it’s all and so much more. I am 36 now and grateful to have met and known each one of you. I am honored by each one of you stopping by to read for a moment in time the imprint of my existence here, in this virtual space that can sometimes be a million times more real and intense than the indifferent reality in which many don’t think, don’t stop, don’t feel. These are thoughts coming from the depths of a mind that you have always heard, but whose bodily envelope you have never got the chance to see till today. This is my tribute to you all and especially to the most unique loners and thinkers I have had the honor to meet through this wonderful expression channel offered by WordPress.
When it comes to life and feelings I have made quite an adventurous journey so far. I know that most of you have been through similar experiences, some of them known to me. I may not know you all, my dear friends sharing this lonesome island of thought with me, but what I know is that my experience is just as unique as my fingerprints, and all of you are just as unique.
My life has started in my early years with the naive me discovering the world in all aspects. Just like you have all done it. But because I was pretty much a loner even then, I have taken in the colors, feelings and characters around me on a more intense note. And in time I found out that there are not many capable of sharing the same intensity of life like me. But it was then when I have also met my darkness and fears, and so I have wasted a lot of time of my life swinging between the devil and the deep blue sea.
It was hard to allow the outer world inside my own world. The most painful was to give something of me to many that have never understood who I am and what hides behind the green of my eyes. That because they were too busy to judge me using units of measure that are far too conventional for the ineffable in me.
The beauty of life has unfolded under my eyes later when I have accepted myself for who I was. When i have embraced my solitude knowing that it will bring me in the end to the best in me. And my solitude has been the greatest teacher and one of the most profound states of mind I have been through.
Just like many other people I have mourned for a lost love or a lost past until the day when I understood that whatever has happened was for a reason. That behind the loss hides the chance to change. Not the world, but myself. Not to die, but to grow. Not to freeze, but to develop. Not to stagnate, but to complete myself.
At the end of that labyrinth I have found that my soul has become my mate and that I am truly my best friend. That was the epiphany of inner balance, me becoming what God has created me to be, the best me, the sensitive me, the passionate me embracing life and capable to absorb and distill it just to offer it in the form of an essence that carries across my own soul.
Every day brings the promise of a new beginning. We don’t need to regret anything, whatever happened was meant to be. And it was meant to be part of our inner growth, mental awakening of heart blooming. I see every day as the first day of the rest of my life. And at this point in my life I embrace both the devil and the deep blue sea. The little devil of wild feelings and thoughts I have tamed in me and the deep blue sea of living, two extremes opposed at the beginning of my existence, but two sides of the same coin that has always been my soul, fallen on the bottom of this ocean called life.
memyselfandela, September 2013
White Bird, shake your wing over me
Snow on my lashes with white snow flakes, graciously, silently, vapour like
Strew on the top of my head your wisdom.
Once I did not know you, I was living my life without your song
I was speaking so many words and did not understand any …
Now I have embaced you, you are me, I am silent.
Oh how beautiful it snows with oblivion in my eyes…
When you will fly away, I don’t want to be left behind,
Cover me with your wing, Solitude.
Pasăre albă, scutură-ți aripa deasupra mea
Ninge-mi genele cu fulgi albi, grațios, tăcut, vaporos
Presară-mi pe creștet înțelepciunea ta.
Cândva nu te cunoșteam, îmi trăiam viața fără cântecul tău,
Vorbeam atâtea cuvinte și nu înțelegeam nici unul…
Acum te-am îmbrățișat, tu ești eu, eu tac.
Ce frumos ninge cu uitare în ochii mei…
Când vei zbura nu vreau să râmân în urmă,
Acoperă-mi inima cu aripa ta, Singurătate.
Some might tell you it’s only noise
Others will say it’s just music
Yet don’t believe a thing, simply listen.
Hear this grave voice, this is no longer a bare cello
It’s my very heart, this metal heartbeat is my very life
This sound is the blood running through my veins.
Rather than take it away from me just kill me,
This is my passion, the voice of my love.
memyselfandela, June 2013
Somewhere Around Nothing
I’ll write you about the moments when you face life
Like a boxer ready to be hit again straight in the face
Wearing scary tattoos on every inch of his chest
But nothing but fears inside it.
I’ll paint you all you can’t stand
Like not being able to taste life freely
But only in small sips given in constrained limited relationships
Humble ratio – shots versus an endless thirst.
I’ll sing you about all that makes you feel bad
Stirring this rain that is endlessly pouring over your soul
Building your need to escape from this restraint universe
In ephemeral ramshackled paralell castles of sand and words.
I’ll strew you all the times
When you’re so busy dreaming that you miss your own life
Between getting drunk and two advertisements that repeat themselves
Making it all feel like an endless depressing Sunday evening.
I’ll demolish all the strength you’ve never had
But that you dream to steal from every possible corner of street
And all the moments when dwarf souls rejoice
In laughing of your deepest misery.
I’ll scatter life in sunless moments
Hopeless shelterless bloody moments ,without self esteem or stamina
And if in between you might glimpse love,
It will be not in the light, but in the deepest hell of existance.
memyselfandela, June 2013
Nothing Else Matters
I’m not afraid of missing you anymore
Since you inhabit my very soul.
You are the only chapter that I ever wanted to read
At the end of many sad stories
That have smashed my soul into pieces.
You, the one that made those pieces turn
Into living butterflies lifting themselves
Towards an unseen Heaven.
No, I’m not scared of missing you anymore
Since all these living colours fly around me
Filling every single hole ever drilled in my heart.
I’m not lonely anymore since I felt
That in any corner of my humbled soul
I’m surrounded and graced by you.
I don’t care what others say,
I’m not hollow anymore.
I don’t even need to call your name
For Love, you are here
And nothing else matters.
Let it be.
Crepuscular quiet dismantles seemingly
all the past that has tired these eyes,
while ancient rains falling from grey skies
wash away the ashes and pains that gave birth to tomorrow.
In a deep still new potentialities bind around your breath
as millions of counterfeit sounds could never compare to it.
just like in a long forgotten blast
shining light and darkness split afloat oblivious waters.
There shall be love, antigravity love waving
like a flag above the shores of this heart
broken, fixed and restlessly beating in burning thoughts
of “why not?” and of “now?” and “forever!”. Let it be.
100 words, memyselfandela, 2013
Walking through the valley of changes
I slay my demons, thinking what I have become
One by one they fall by my side , one by one I leave them behind.
I question my steps as I mirror my face in the deep fountain of the past.
Oh how often I drank from these tears…
I must carry on without them till I can drink the morning dew.
I get away, run away, fly away from the darkness within
Nobody there to know how to take my armour off these bleeding wounds
Without making me scream. No wine or oil to pour on my sorrows.
Be still my soul, sigh and listen
You can hear the distant voice of angels
Promissing you the light to guide you back Home.
How many times I thought I found you and I was wrong
How many wasted sunsets, Love,
Such an emptiness behind my eyes.
How I longed to look in your eyes
Like a child.
One day I’ll hold your loving hand
With a full heart
No longer afraid to face the dawn.