Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Michael Moriarty, Sergei Rachmaninoff and James Joyce

“She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the dusty odor of cretonne. She was tired.” James Joyce -'Eveline' from The Dubliners

Eveline or Evvy, refused to escape and buried her White face in the common-place -lace curtains, dust and a timorous obligation to the familiar.

In this very short story by James Joyce, the reader gets dragged into the soul-less commonplace that is Eveline.

She is a middle class woman in love with a a manly, kind, adventurous and alive man named Frank. Frank is leaving dear old dirty Dublin for Buenas Aires and wants to take Evvy with him. She refuses. She stays musty and dusty. Get these final lines -

A bell clanged upon her heart. She felt him seize her hand:


All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He was drawing her into them: he would drown her. She gripped with both hands at the iron railing.


No! No! No! It was impossible. Her hands clutched the iron in frenzy. Amid the seas she sent a cry of anguish.

"Eveline! Evvy!"

He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. He was shouted at to go on but he still called to her. She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition.

Old Jim could work a pen.

Another fine writer is my frequent e-mail pal, Michael Moriarty. This actor, musician, journalist and courageous defender of the unborn lives in Canada and is working on an autobiographical musical composition. This musical biography may be a Confessio like St. Augustine's or an Apologia ala John Cardinal Newman. We shall see, or hear.

Nevertheless, Mr. Moriarty wrote a touching remembrance for Exit Stage Right. Like his musical composition the essays are titled The Haunted Heaven. In the passage that I provide today, Mr. Moriarty explores the coming of the Holy Spirit through the music of Rachmaninoff. Here is the passage by the Russian composer refered to in Mr. Moriarty's essay -


What a Virgil, Sergei Rachmaninoff, to lead me into the Haunted Heavens of Life!

Then to be reintroduced to the Russian giant by a divinely gifted genius named Olga Kern!!

She is now ripping into the last movement with all the simultaneous speed, strength and sensitivity she can summon up with the same oceanic brilliance she has mustered throughout this virtual monster of a piano concerto.

Russian composers and Russian musicians will play a monumentally large role in my life as the years pass. The first of course was the vibrantly impassioned Russian genie, Sergei Rachmaninoff.

He and his Haunted Heaven entered my life before I could even talk.

To this day Rachmaninoff's protean lyricism seems unsurpassed by anyone.

He and his music became a virtual umbilical cord to my infancy's ecstasy.

His melodies are only the beginning of his abandon to whatever muse God chose to both plague and adore him with.

Oceanic is the only adjective that seems sufficient.

Unlike Eveline in Joyce's tale, Moriarty plunges into the waves.

Michael can work a pen.


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