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Let the light shine out
Last post Wed, Apr 14 2021 by William, 6 replies.
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Posted on Mon, Apr 12 2021 02:49
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 336

It's long been said we should avoid hiding our light beneath a bushel. And sometimes perhaps we ought remind and encourage those few proverbial dark horses among us to do their utmost to follow that wise entreaty.

Here's some beautiful light I chanced upon recently: it's an operatic piece called Echo.

Libretto is a poem by Christina Rossetti, set to music by William Kersten, sung by soprano Lori Trustman, music rendered digitally by William Kersten using VSL sample libraries.


This video was posted on YouTube in 2014. I'm amazed and dumbfounded that it hasn't become better known since then. The mass of utter garbage masquerading as art that gets shoved in our faces every day on social platforms - while this lovely piece remains virtually hidden - tells a very disturbing story about western cultures nowadays.

What must artistic talent do today to shine forth? I absolutely refuse to accept that narcissism is the way - it's become a pandemic disease, grievously afflicting and threatening to disfigure most if not all western cultures now.

One thing is for sure though. It does not serve modesty - nor any other virtue - to hide one's light beneath a bushel. There are already way too many people out there busy trying to hide, devalue or cancel everyone else's light in an effort to give undue prominence to their own dubious glimmer.

Posted on Tue, Apr 13 2021 00:46
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5639

Macker, I didn't see this previously - thank you - that is very kind of you to write.  

Posted on Tue, Apr 13 2021 10:32
by PaoloT
Joined on Tue, Dec 27 2016, Posts 1118

It's an incredibly beautiful piece. I like how sweet the melody line is, something not so common in vocal writing nowadays. There are Mahlerian echoes making it both melancholic and solidly built, with a narrative arc magically capturing the listener.

Mrs. Trustman has a beautiful, powerful and nuanced voice. And the composer conducts and plays the orchestra in the finest way.

I agree, it's a hidden jewel that should deserve much more attention and knowledge.


Posted on Tue, Apr 13 2021 13:01
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 549

William's music serves to heighten the emotional impact of the lyrics and draw the listener in to this hauntingly beautiful work of art.

As to the discussion on being discovered and/or recognized for one's talent, if a composer depends on the popularity of their work for self-validation, they will be playing a loser's game.  All we can control is our own efforts in the pursuit of excellence, staying true to our own voice and convictions.

It can be hard to understand why some things gain (what we determine to be) undeserved adulation, while other works, like the one featured here, sit in relative obscurity.  Remember though, that we are the sum of our life experiences, and the vast majority of people have simply never been exposed in any meaningful way to art music.  Learning to appreciate and cultivate interest in this form of art is no different than acquiring a taste for good coffee.  And even then, the finest connoisseur of java excellence will still be frustrated that everyone else doesn't share his/her deep understanding of what makes "good coffee."  

That's the funny thing:  composers, educated listeners, etc. all lament the lack of recognition for the kind of music they enjoy...but I suspect that if suddenly there were a surge in popularity and "art music" became the popular music of the masses, these select few that currently enjoy the work of talented, but unknown composers, would suddenly find themselves seeking new undiscovered talent to shine a light upon.  

I can only speak for myself, when it comes to the frustration of having my own work largely ignored.  Everytime a work is left un-listened to, un-commented on, etc. I remind myself that the goal is not to win everybody over and revel in the adulation of others.  The goal is to make connections...real connections to those few that may understand and/or appreciate what I'm communicating through my work.  The rest are free to enjoy what they like, while I remain steadfast in my commitment to continue exploring my own talent, with or without the approval of others.  It can be tough and lonely being a composer in the 21st century (or at any time in history, really), but the rewards are there, with or without fame and recognition.  It is up to us to find the beauty in our own path and not waste energy wondering why others don't share the path with us.

Alright, time for some "good coffee." :)

David Carovillano

Posted on Wed, Apr 14 2021 00:28
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5639

Paolo, thanks very much it is good to hear from you!  

Posted on Wed, Apr 14 2021 00:29
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5639

Thanks Dave, also your insights about problems with composing now are so well expressed.   

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