O Magnum Mysterium

Low Key - C minor

Low Key - C minor

High Key - E minor

High Key - E minor

This is a solo song with sheet music of vocal line and chord symbols. 

I had an epiphany in the desert this year while I was on tour with Co-Opera. 

For a long time I have felt stuck halfway between being a folk and a classical musician. I love folk but sometimes I need to get complex, to get into the language of harmony - western classical music's great feat. Then I get lost in art music for a while and its exquisite tapestry until I start to yearn for some heartfelt and lusty earth music made with two chords and howled drunkenly at the moon. In the desert, 800 klms inland in a wild wild tiny opal mining town I had an epiphany. It was to write honestly. To write music that satisfies and expresses my connection to both styles. To just be myself and set up home halfway between these two styles of music without worrying about where I fit. I fit where I am. It was a wonderful moment.

To me, this piece is in that style. And I'm sharing with you this week in support of singers who are having vocal rest.

A year ago I got the flu and foolishly kept working instead of cancelling everything and going to bed. Turned out alright - most things came good - except my voice which has been hoarse and sore on and off ever since. And lacking finesse. You know when your voice isn't right and you can't phrase beautifully and you can't float and you can't do runs well and so on.

Well it's been like that for a year. And I've recently acknowledged it's not going away. So I'm waiting to see an ENT guy and in the meantime singing as little as possible. Which is helping enormously but I would like a more musical solution than I can keep my voice in condition by not singing.

What a strange feeling. I normally sing ALL THE TIME. For singers, singing is how we express who we are, how we get what's inside out. This silence has felt free floating, ungrounded, wide and empty. I have been surprised how long days go.

I talked to one of my favourite people on the planet, a tenor who moved to Germany for his singing. He is on vocal rest for nasty reflux and he's pretty bloody miserable about the situation.

Last week I read Greta Bradman's blog on her post surgery vocal rest and how she is cultivating mindfulness to grow from the experience.

It's a big deal. This voicelessness. 

Greta's blog inspired me to share this week's song. I wrote it a while back and I wrote it to remind myself that 'way will be found'. That there IS a rhythm to things, and sometimes the thing we can do is wait. and wait with dignity. Yield to greater forces.

Emlyn my beautiful baritone husband kindly sang this for me - if you haven't heard him sing before you are in for a treat!

And a way and a way and a way and a way and a way and a way and a way

Way will be found, and a way and a way, road will unfurl at your feet

Restless unquiet won't hasten the stars, in their time night and earth surely meet.

In her bed, in the earth, in the dark, in the night in the hours and the years yet undone

quickening starts long before the sun's rise O Magnum Mysterium.

Hearing the call, the men march to war but the woods have their own call to heed

Greening begins whether men live or no, for the fire still brings life to the seed.

Beata Virgo. Beata Mater est. Beata Annicilla. Beata Infantum.