Music and Poetry in dialogue

English Version by Dr. Salvatore Ivan Italiano. Written by Giuseppe Liberto (Chiusa Sclafani, 21 August 1943). He is an Italian priest, choral director, and composer. He was director of the Choir of the Sistine Chapel 1997-2010. 

Music and Poetry in dialogue? I refer to the famous quote of Pascal: le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point (1). We do art to unveil what makes our hearts tick, filtered through the enlightening of our rationale. In doing so, we offer it – art – to those capable of welcoming it. I have always considered both literary and musical “writing” of any kind as an “encounter”, which develops itself through a sort of dialogue between its writer and its reader.

Conversing by means of art is, indeed, a sublime converse cor ad cor among who creates and gives and who is able to welcome the other – the creator – in conversation with an open heart. Gratitude for the received gift is expressed when such a gift bears fruit through future deeds.

Unfortunately, the contemporary conversation is just an outpouring of words, noises, and honks in a desert of barren thoughts, stubborn silences, and bedlam. We are stuffed with din, pummeled with aggressiveness, polluted with a vile atmosphere, and tired of an industriousness, which deals in mediocrity and triviality. Silence is, instead, the very sanctuary of our intimacy; it is the hotbed wherein flourishes the art of poetry and music. These are the sublime media which harmonize our self within itself and its opening to the neighbor.

[…] Each star is of beams of light aplenty
as each bosom of affections is plenty.
No Limits to Love
as no end has the bang of truth and beauty […]

We are mindful that to strive through the artistic quest urges us toward unknown glimmers of verbatim-melodic contrasts, which are canto and enigma: canto for the heavens and enigma for the earth by means of the creative kindle of passion, which burning, does not cinder down like the burning bush on Mt. Sinai. The shapeless is constantly in the search of its shape as well as, once upon a time, nebulas would eventually become suns, moons, and planets.

[…] Hope of deserts in buds
for endless thorn bushes with stones
shall turn into orchards with blooms
In the bright symphony of colors
Certainty is there, wherein will Love recolor!

Every composition of art is, at the same time, creation and risk, for it is a deed of utter devotion, also preventing the curbing of those leaps of ingenuity fidgeting within the very human soul. This is the kind of ingenuity that leads to the unexplored regions of pristine art. This way is the taking off through simple or complex architectures, which are chords in discordance. It is to be said that some insensitive ears, sluggard or unprepared, are incapable of recognizing the melodies of tomorrow.

There is a certain kind of society that doesn’t give any space available to what is novel. It does everything to strike down every prophet by annihilating his or her art with the only objective being to swallow him or her up, and integrate such a prophet in the disharmonic loop of the shabby conventional wisdom.

The true prophet, though, rejects it, fights against it, and perseveres through the quest. If Art has a bright history continuing throughout its existence, it is because of out of the box thinking. The artistic prophecy is life and fertility of true art.

Currently, human society is in crisis for it cannot find that strength to raise the bar of culture leading ahead prophetically. It might be this is the cause of the diabolic laziness of mind along with that inclination to bartering, which corrodes and nullifies everything. The prophet then, is a dead man walking. Though, he’s still alive in his freewill of consciousness within the prison of the overbearing hubris of the powerful. For the artist, however, offering the fruits of his own art, it is like – to give the intimacy of life.

The artistic creation is not to be boiled down as if harnessing for the sales of a talent. Rather, it is accountability of ascesis as well as inspiration is not intended to give birth to skill. Instead, it is that skill that gives to life the offer of inspiration, any inspiration – call it also technique.

The whole artistic toil resembles the ascetic toil of the mystics and prophets; yonder included our “dark night”. The legacy of history tells us that prophets are always deported, and confined in the martyrdom of their witnessing: are they martyrs of a worthless utopia? No, they are not. They are the only martyrs to have understood the art of resurrection. They, in fact, witness another world, which is not possible to ignore further for it has been witnessed by them.

The true artists are those giving life to the mysterious life within their self, which is beyond techniques, styles, and architectures. I like to compare artists to the mythical pelican; it offers its innards as sustenance for its newborns. Then, let’s urge those mystics, and those prophets to keep the strain of words alive and not to let it fizzle out.

As long as you deny it
Music is caged in thy bosom
Desperately striving to escape
Up through the tip of your tongue. 

We believe that life is a harmonious chant. We are reassured that life is born, and blooms and yields within the harmonic symphony of the numberless cadences of time and space. Harmony is intended as an orderly relationship in unity, which satisfies one’s spirit to recreate feelings – in the Italian language, we would say: to recreate one’s, heart. Harmony is indeed the unity of the different vibrations in sympathetic oneness.

God unveiled through His son Jesus is perfect and endless harmony for the Trinity, not enclosed in itself as a sterile and repetitive monologue, rather is a dialogue of self-revelation and self-giving for the created and beloved mankind.

Dialogue in harmony is oneness of heart and intellect – ratio – sympathetic with one’s neighbor out of common humanity. Ours is the impassionate and jealous God as the true love. It is the thorn bush, which is always aflame and wears us out in its Thrice-Unity. The rest is about false deities, with no chant, with no poetry, just idols, frivolous and conceited. No more than some ready-made stupid knick-knack – no more than accessories and cremated ore – useless, noxious and cumbersome in the long run.

Before being merchants of tops and fibs, let’s ourselves gaze at the mirror of our consciousness after having polished it to a shine. For the holy people of God is not allowed to give acorns to feast on, in place of the fresh and fragrant bread, which is the sublime art! The untrue art leaves a void along with corruption.

(1) The heart has its reason, which the reason doesn’t know anymore.  

Dr. Salvatore Ivan Italiano
Dr. Salvatore Ivan Italiano