Song of Songs
The Song Of Songs is a curious inclusion in the Old Testament. It consists of eight beautiful, short love poems describing a physically passionate relationship between a bride and groom. The verses frequently shift perspective from the woman's to the man's to that of a chorus of observers, and are at times narrative, at others, simply descriptive. Interestingly (given the historical and cultural context), the woman is clearly equal to the man, and is every bit the aggressor in the relationship. The overt sensuality coupled with the fact that God is not mentioned in any of the poems has made this book a theological puzzle. Is God the groom and God's bride the chosen people? Is Christ the groom and the bride his church? Or are these poems simply included to help us understand mating and courtship rituals or customs of the time? Regardless what the poems may represent allegorically, the fact that they are in the Bible at all seems to suggest that they are at least a celebration of the beauty of physical intimacy as part of God's glorious creation. Perhaps this final interpretation is sufficient, as the most intimate physical act clearly has the capacity to connect us to something most spiritual. For not only can physical intimacy be a beautiful expression of love, but it is by design that through sexual union the very creation of life becomes possible. Each of the pieces on this recording was inspired from a fragment of one of the eight poems, drawn from several translations. The music is intended as an abstraction of the text, and although it was designed to stand alone, I have included the fragments in the liner notes for those curious about the source. Having studied these poems for more than a year, I encourage you to seek out and enjoy the full text, and draw your own conclusions. Steve Rashid November, 2002 [The instrumentation on Song of Songs varies from cut to cut, and ranges from solo piano pieces to larger ensembles. In all, the recording features eleven musicians well known to Chicago audiences: John Adair, Kevin Connelley, Jim Cox, T.C. Furlong, Paul Mertens, John Moulder, Steve Rashid, Breno Sauer, Don Stiernberg, Peter Szczepanek, and Jeff Thomas. If you are interested in hearing sound clips (see the links on this page), we encourage you to listen to several examples in order to get an understanding of the instrumental range.]
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