Sunday, May 16, 2010

Away in search of thin places

'Donald Allchin, the Anglican writer who is a contemporary chronicler of Bardsey, has referred to the island in one of his books I read before going over as a 'thin place', not in the sense that it is small and insignificant, though of course geographically it is, but rather that it is a place where the barrier between this world and the world of the spirit dissolves' - from The Extra Mile by Peter Stanford.
'Thin places' as defined by Donald Allchin have become something of a leitmotif of this blog. Thinness can be created over the centuries by culture and geography, as in Marrakech where I took the header photo. Or thinness can be transitory, created in the concert hall by Britten's holy triangle of composer, performer and listener. As happened last night when the Theatre Royal, Norwich became a very thin place indeed thanks to the musicans from many countries and cultures who presented Jerusalem - City of the Two Peaces.

Jordi Savall's introductory essay to Jerusalem, which can be read here, is titled The Power of Music and there are no better words to sum up yesterday's Norfolk & Norwich Festival performance. Many attempts have been made to dissolve the barriers between different cultures and faiths using music, but Jerusalem is one of the very few that actually succeeeds. Every one of the master musicans involved deserves the highest praise, but none more than Jordi Savall himself. For many today art is measured by charts and ratings: for Jordi Savall art is not only something you do, but something you are as well.

Jerusalem's ensemble finale is titled Tous les chants et instruments réunis and there is really nothing else that needs to be said. Other than that I am now away for an extended period in search of more thin places and some counterbalancing vin rouge and moules frites. Do support other free thinking music blogs while I am away.


* The lavish 2 CD set and book seen above is, of course, available on Alia Vox, Jordi Savall's independent and musician owned record label. If I were CEO of a major record label I would certainly have learnt something from the rate at which Jerusalem was flying off Prelude Records' concession in the concert hall. What we need are more mad geniuses.

Photo is (c) On An Overgrown Path 2010. Those interested in architecture may be interested to learn that the window is in Marrakech's new railway terminus. It is across the road from the city's unfinished opera house. Fortunately the new railway station was finished in 2008. Our tickets for Jerusalem were bought at the Festival box office, my recording of Jerusalem was purchased from Prelude Records. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

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