Note: If you have not read my previous four posts, “The Decline of Lyrical Craftsmanship – Part 1 2 3 & 4” first, I strongly suggest that you do that now, if possible.
So here’s where we left off at the end of Part 4:
So now I’ve written 10 of these songs in the past 6 weeks. I’ve done little else. The endeavor has fired me with excitement and promise. I will continue to write more. The songs are bold. The music is a mixture of Classical, Pop, Jazz, Folk and even gospel elements giving us an interesting and fresh originality.
As I begin this 5th installment post Julia and I have now completed two of the recordings, “One” and “Love” and today will record a third, entitled “Dominion.” This project now moves from my hands to Julia’s most capable throat, so to speak. I thought it might be interesting to do this Part 5 as an interview with our chanteuse.
May I present my partner, friend, voice and main squeeze, Julia Wade.
Julia, let’s start with the sessions. Anything different here from the norm in the recording process?
The norm for the recording process is that there is no norm! Under the microscope of the microphone, no matter how prepared one is, there’s always something new to discover. There’s always something new to learn – in the session – and always something challenging to either overcome or express right there in the session. So, in short, no – no difference – except that it’s a unique and different experience EVERY TIME!
I love this process, and I fear it too. My love for it comes from the opportunity, the commitment, the experience, and the great anticipation of sharing the outcome with folks who will hopefully gain inspiration, joy, comfort, healing, etc. – whatever it is they are seeking when they listen to the music.
The fear? Well, that has been born out of respect for the process. The recording experience tells me ALWAYS — EVERY TIME – exactly where I am in my preparation, my understanding, the state of my physicality, voice, throat, and of course, the state of my psyche and my spiritual being. That’s a lot to handle. I am less and less fearful, but when the fear shows up, it’s usually an indication that one or more of the items in this list needs more attention.
And so, I have learned to be as prepared as I possibly can be – preparation is key.
Will you finish on time?
I think so. We are very committed to this project, and we want to be able to give it to the world in a timely manner – at the right time — which will be around the time I finish my tenure at The Mother Church in May of this year.
As far as you know, are these songs the first of this concept?
No. Not at all. I have heard that the Christian Science Publishing Society has been accepting submissions from composers who are setting Mrs. Eddy’s texts to hymns for consideration in the next Hymnal supplement. Likewise, Watchfire Music carries material of this sort by composers such as Daniel Burton, Robert Collister, Desiree Goyette and some of the solos from the Wordlight Publishing group. There are certainly more composers out there doing it, to be sure. These are the folks that spring to mind immediately.
A Christian Science teacher remarked that Peter and I are responding to something that is already in thought — it’s an idea that has been already out there and happening. Though I hadn’t been thinking about all the other material out there, when I looked at it, I realized that I have performed some of it and so this all seems both new and relevant, springing forward naturally.
The new music offers a very inspired creative approach to Mrs. Eddy’s prose that I have not experienced before. And yet I have loved exploring the ways in which other composers have successfully worked in the same realm. So, it was supremely natural to move in this direction, and it feels new and fresh.
So this isn’t really a ground-breaking concept?
“I think the music is ground breaking, but, no, the concept of using Mary Baker Eddy’s prose as lyrical content in a song has been in the works for a while now.”
Do you foresee any objections to this concept from anyone in particular?
“Sure, any new idea has the potential to raise objections. But, I think if we think of these new songs in context of using them in the church service or as part of an inspirational healing music concert, I think we can see the potential for good, the potential for healing and inspiration.
Isn’t the Bible really the model here?
George Fredrick Handel, Bach, and of course the list goes on and on, have illuminated the truths of the Bible for centuries with their music. Why shouldn’t Mrs. Eddy’s Keys To The Scriptures be illuminated as well?
To me, the solos further amplify many of the iconic statements in Science and Health that we use/recite/read/share all the time as healing tools to clear, change and refresh thought so that healing may occur. To my sense, these solos have that potential and are intended to be healing agents.
In the church services, I fully expect the solo to be an illuminating, supporting and healing experience within that service — just as I expect all other aspects of the service to do the same thing.
These songs are intended to lift the listener’s thought into new views and new ways of thinking about familiar passages they have grown up with. And if they are new to Christian Science, these solos are intended to just provide an open door to thought — to the thinking of Mrs. Eddy.
I think of these solos as treatments and revelations of Truth. They are iconic statements of Mrs. Eddy’s revelations! I continually go back to her phrase that ‘Whatever inspires with wisdom, Truth, or Love be it song, sermon, or Science blesses the human family with crumbs of comfort from Christ’s table, feeding the hungry and giving living waters to the thirsty.’
This sentence is my watchword as a soloist, as a practicing Christian Scientist and as a creative artist of inspirational music. It’s what motivates me to want to reach out and share in new and creative ways the lessons of Truth and Love.”
Give us an example of your part in the writing and creative process of some of these songs.
“Victory!” is one of the solos in this gift of solo offerings. It was born because I started in January to work on a solo for Easter. I have traditionally found this to be one of the most difficult musical moments to solve for years now. We, as Christian Scientists, have such an elevated sense of what Easter means, and much of the Easter music is wonderfully rich, but often with lyrics missing the Christian Science perspective.
So, I studied this coming Easter lesson and the idea that came is the following:
It became clear that I would like to do a solo with the organ that is absolutely joyful and resonant with the specifically Christian Science perspective. In studying the lesson for Easter Sunday, the answer came: Take the Golden Text, ‘Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ?’ and turn that into a repeating chorus theme in the solo! So, the structure of the song was born.
I went to two composers, Peter Link and Greg Granoff and asked them to work together from their specific areas of expertise. Peter took my notes of the Bible verse and my suggested readings from Science and Health. He fashioned a beautiful lyric that tells the story — using only Mrs. Eddy’s words and the Bible verse – and composed and created a soaring Easter solo. It is a contemporary classical solo for voice and organ. Greg Granoff, an organ expert as well as a finely-crafted contemporary classical composer, is creating the organ arrangement for voice and organ.
Where to go from here?
As of this writing, Peter has created 10 settings to texts of Mrs. Eddy’s — 10 solos, with at least 2 more to come! The titles of the solos include “Victory!”, “Love”, “Government”, “One”, “Dominion”, “Beauty”, “The Sculptor” and more.
I have worked with this reading for all these years from Mrs. Eddy’s Science and Health “Whatever inspires with wisdom, Truth, or Love be it song, sermon, or Science blesses the human family with crumbs of comfort from Christ’s table, feeding the hungry and giving living waters to the thirsty.”
And this project, coming at this time — after all the various avenues I have explored — feels like a blessing that can enrich and add to the lexicon of excellent Christian Science musical repertoire for years to come. I can’t think of anything I would rather be a part of contributing.
Even More Inspiration
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