Music for the perplexed
“The modern experiment to live without religion has failed, and once we have understood this, we know what our 'post modern' tasks really are” wrote E.F. Schumacher in 1977. Today Schumacher is remembered for his pioneering advocacy of intermediate technology in Small Is Beautiful. But he was a multi-faceted personality whose personal path took him from living without religion to esoteric traditions such as Buddhism and Gurdjieff’s 'Work' and finally on to the Catholic Church, a journey that inspired his neglected A Guide for the Perplexed from which the quote above is taken. I think Fritz Schumacher would have approved of the newly released CD Trialogue which mixes sacred vocal and instrumental music from South India, Morocco and Medieval Europe in a project that wisely takes the path of unity within diversity rather than fusion. Singers Aruna Sairam, Noureddine Tahiri and Dominique Vellard are supported by a transcultural ensemble of instrumentalists, and all are captured in gorgeous sound by independent label Glossa in the church of Mont-Saint-Jean, Burgundy - audio sample here. Listening to Trialogue evokes what Catholic theologians call “gratuitous grace” – it does not guarantee salvation, but is potentially helpful and should be accepted thankfully.
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