waft, you angels of vacation

Today was my last day of work for 5. full. days! This is how I felt when I went home and sat down on the couch.

I loved this excerpt from an interview about Händel operas. It reminded me of one of my favorite Baroque arias.

Here's to vacation time that is much needed, and ought to be revered.

In the war section of the album, there's an aria by Handel, and the lyrics suggest that war can be not just external but also internal. There's a line that says, "Oh, thoughts, you persecute me." 
This is an internal war that I think is ultimately, probably, the source of all external war — it's when we are not at peace with ourselves. And it's that incessant inner voice that keeps gnawing away at us. In this case, she's a rather evil character: She's power hungry, and she knows she's perhaps overstepping the boundary. It's that gnawing doubt of conscience that comes into her head, and it torments her. Ultimately, my approach with this album is not an external war, but it is that internal war that we all are in conflict about.
You've talked about why you reached into the past to explore these ideas, but is there something specific about the Baroque period?
There is a purity to the music of the Baroque world. We haven't hit dense harmonies yet. It's not overly complex orchestrations. It's really a chance where the text and the voice get to be center stage. And I think that's a chance for more raw emotion to emerge, because there's so much space for the listener to enter into this music.
As part of this project, you posed a question to people ranging from actors to Supreme Court justices to prison inmates. And you've asked the public to give their own answers to this question. What is it?
The question is: In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?
And how do you answer that question for yourself?
In the midst of chaos, I find peace by loving. I love, and that gets me out of the situation.
To return to the question we began with, "Does art matter?", do you think that a recording like this, or any recording at all, can actually do something? What difference do you think it makes that you put this collection together?
I know that it can, and I know that music has, for countless people. I've received letters from people where they write and they say, "I had a handful of pills in my hand and I was ready to end my life, and randomly your recording came on and I had to stop and I couldn't do it." I don't take credit for that for myself — I mean, that belongs to Mozart, or Handel in that case, actually, and all the musicians involved. And I know that is not a unique circumstance, but it was one life that is still living.
Music can be a real guiding light towards empathy, and I can't think of any better prescription. Let's put it to the United States of America right now, a country divided. If we had more empathy, that's a healing thing. And music, because it goes to the heart and bypasses the brain, can put people in a position to hear another point of view, to be less afraid of it. I believe a thousand percent that music can do that and this album can help that. I would love for that to be true.

interview via {npr}


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