Art and Literature

Entries about creativity in all its forms, plus original creative material.

Nightingales: A Musical Offering

This is a different kind of podcast, a song called Nightingales.


It represents a preliminary version of a choral piece I composed many years ago around a beautiful, proclamatory poem of Baha'u'llah, which tells the nightingales that the season of roses, the blooming time is here, the seekers that what lay beyond their vision is now revealed to their sight, and the lovers that the adored one's face is in full view.  The motifs, from Persian mysticism, are universal in their capacity to evoke. Like all else on this blog, this is not a finished thought, but a tentative beginning in a conversation, this time in musical form. Joining me in singing it are the extremely talented Smith family (Geoff, Michaela, Bonnie, and her cousin), and a friend called Paul. The provisional translation is by J. Cole. As soon as I get full names of everyone, I will give proper acknowledgement! It was a wonderful experience to record it at the Smith studio in beautiful Cornwall, after 12 years of holding it in my head, and I will always be grateful for the inspiration they imparted as an extraordinary, united, gifted family!

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A Synthesis of Science and Religion

Thy will be done, O Universe!

Guy Murchie, The Seven Mysteries of Life, pg. 627

In the preface to his Seven Mysteries of Life, Guy Murchie wrote that when he had set out to write the book, he had intended the project to be an exploration of life in its entirety, but somewhere on that seventeen year journey he had discovered something — something philosophical. He reported that he’d discovered

fresh insights as to why the world is the way it is, where it is going and what it means … a discovery in philosophy.

{josquote}This is Murchie at his most transparent as a Bahá’í evangelist.{/josquote}

This was quite a remarkable pronouncement. Unfortunately, the preface does not identify what these insights were. I can only make the considered guess that the discovery he speaks of is the set of mysteries which the title of the book refers to. The difficulty I have with that guess is that not all those seven mysteries — if they may justifiably be called mysteries — were all that new to the world.

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Florentine's kings of freestyle

Visitors to the funky Tel Aviv neighborhoods of Florentine or Nahalat Binyamin, the seaside Tayelet promenade, or those who were present at the opening this past July of the Maccabiah Olympics in Ramat Gan, have all been dazzled by virtuoso funk, reggae and groove singer King Cano Huricane Kwa-Zulu. Together with Tel Aviv-born Nir Yaniv, the duo have been performing across the country and at venues as disparate as the Glastonbury Festival in England, Womad in Scotland and the Red Sea Jazz festival in Eilat, creating a unique, genre-breaking freestyle entertainment sound - called beatboxing - that embodies post-modern Israel.

{josquote}...King - with the benefit of having traveled and lived in 86 countries, and as a practicing member of the Baha'i faith - believes that holding onto the past and being fixated with fear perpetuate the conflict.{/josquote}

"Our music is done completely from the heart and soul. No waiting for the next draft, no rehearsals. We perform live with no preordained ideas," the Lesotho-born King begins. "Nir and I are both long-time musicians. He's an established artist, composer and science fiction writer for many years here in Tel Aviv, known for his past projects including Funkapella, Vocaliens, and The Universe in a Pita. His music style and repertoire are astronomical."

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One Guy's Macrocosm

I just had the pleasure of reading the first volume of Guy Murchie’s Music of the Spheres, titled The Macrocosm, and I can see that a lot has been learned about Earth, the Moon, and planets since I was born. Take this sectional illustration of Earth’s crust for example:

A rather outdated cross section of California
A rather outdated cross section of California

{josquote}And I ought to give Murchie credit for having kept his religion out of the science itself.{/josquote}

Note the complete absence of tectonic plates. Note that the Sierra Nevada is represented as a folded range, which it’s not. Furthermore, today we don’t think there’s a basalt layer beneath North America, and in fact, we don’t think there’s any root at all beneath the southern Sierra. That last bit has been discovered rather recently.

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A Guy Murchie Timeline

Guy Murchie

Here’s a timeline of Guy Murchie’s life that I’ve constructed to help me understand his autobiography better. Page numbers are of The Soul School. Please consider this a work in progress. I expect to continue modifying it as I acquire new data. Enjoy!

  • 1907, January 25 — Born, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA.
  • 1925, October — Introduced to future wife Eleanor Parker. (pp. 37-9)
  • 1929 — Graduated from Harvard; began trip around the world.
  • 1930 — Completed trip around the world.
  • 1932 — Men on the Horizon published.
  • 1932, March — Married Eleanor Forrester Parker (b. 2 Oct 1880, Newark, New Jersey), AKA “Worgzle” and “Piggie”.
  • 1934 — Began work at the Chicago Tribune.

  • 1938 — Converted to the Bahá’í Faith after being assigned to write a story on the Wilmette temple (pg. 180).
  • 1939 — Divorced Eleanor … on amicable terms (Eleanor was 26 years his senior) (pg. 253-4, 306). See dedication to The Seven Mysteries of Life.

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