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Friday, May 2, 2008


MelanieMelanie is for a fellow passionate about his cause: getting her nominated and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is the audience I am most trying to reach with my art: the people who believe so strongly in the music they love that they champion causes to get that music the attention and recognition they feel it deserves.

I feel fortunate to have a means to express my own passions for art and music. Passion, though, has several meanings to humanity. It can be warm, deep affection, but also can be intense agony and suffering. According to Biblical writings, the Passion describes the process of Christ's crucifixion. It signifies strong emotion and desire. Overwhelming.

So it happens that two of my favorites albums are related specifically to the Passion of Christ: St. Luke Passion by Penderecki and Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ by Peter Gabriel.

The first is a contemporary oratorio composed in 1966 by a Polish composer who I was introduced to by my high school physics teacher. Playing for us "Utrenja", another composition about the entombment and resurrection of Christ which was used in the Soundtrack of Kubrick's "The Shining", over the huge speakers in his room that really projected the music's atonal wall of sound, Mr. Layton opened my mind to a whole new type of music. It's certainly not for everybody, but it demonstrates music's capacity for communicating raw emotion.

The second is the album created from Gabriel's soundtrack for Scorcese's controversial film based on the 1961 book by Kazantzakis. It too communicates powerful deep feelings, accomplished with Middle Eastern and African rhythms and harmonies. In a Q&A for the Florida Music Festival, I was asked who my favorite musician of all time is, and I responded with Peter Gabriel. His music has inspired me the most over the years, from his days with Genesis, to his innovative MTV videos, to his own passion for "world music". I was listening to his most recent album, "Up", while painting Melanie. The song "I Grieve" made me burst into tears, thinking about Jason.

I'm sorry to leave this post on a sad note, but I am this week powerfully, miserably sad. I miss Jas terribly. I had a dream with him in it, the first one I could clearly remember that he was in, and awoke hollering "Help!" because I was drowning. Sobbing, I couldn't go back to sleep for hours. Since that, I can very clearly hear his voice again in my head. Remembering that is good and bad, stirring up happy memories and heart-wrenching grief. I guess that's why "passion" applies to the range of intensely felt emotions of humanity.

Peace. Be well.


TarBabyJim said...

Awwww Man, This is a beautiful image of Melanie. You rock!
Thank you,
Jim Baldwin
Spokane WA
my site (as you know ;-)
LetHerIn dot org

TarBabyJim said...

I'm posting again because my first post to your blog was about how beautiful the image that you brought to life of Melanie is.

Then I read your "passion" post and began to cry myself. I feel your pasion too Daniel.

Guess I am going to have to get a copie of "UP" so I can listen to YOUR inspriations as you painted Melanie.