Part I: From Darkness into Light - Performed on March 20th at R. E. Lee Memorial Church in Lexington, Virginia.
Part II: Threads of Light - Performed on March 23rd at a private
residence in Bath County, Virginia.
Music for the Vernal Equinox: a musical journey presented by Jonathan Chapman Cook, composer and pianist
The Northern Hemisphere's Vernal Equinox falls on March 20th or 21st each year. This is the day when the sun orbits directly around the Earth's equator, and night and day are of the most equal lengths the world over. North of the equator, it marks the first day of Spring. This day has held great significance in agricultural societies for thousands of years. Many ancient calendars mark the Northward Equinox as the start of a new year, the great Egyptian Sphinx faces the sunrise on this day, and many ceremonies and rituals the world over have and continue to occur in celebration of the coming of new life and light on this day. In the Occident, Easter Sunday, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox.
My desire in presenting this series of recitals was to discover for myself the spiritual and symbolic power of the Vernal Equinox in a way that was both deeply personal as well as shared with friends, and in that sense, communal. I wanted to put myself through a trial: a journey, and take others along with me, in hopes that it might find meaning beyond my own experience, in the lives of others. These two concerts were given in two unique and extraordinarily beautiful spaces for two very different audiences-- the first in a dimly lit church very late in the evening, and the second in a large and radiant living room with a fire crackling and the glow of sunset encroaching. Each performance was deeply influenced by my relationships and energetic correspondences with those spaces and audiences. Thus, these recordings represent a mono-sensory window into what could only be fully experienced with all five senses, by me, or any of those present, one time only. However, it is my hope that in presenting these on CD, some remnant of the energy and power of the ritual may remain, and may find new inflection in the field of experience of those who listen. Art has, after all, no container, but is constantly evolving, shapeshifting, finding new meaning, in the lives and hearts of those who participate in its magic workings.
"So long as you live, shine.
Let nothing trouble you.
Life is only too short,
and time demands its toll."
- Seikilos Epitaph, ca. 1st Century AD