The Oratorio Experience
April 7th, 2012
Last night was our third and final Easter season performance of Swami Kriyananda’s Oratorio, Christ Lives, of which I have had the honor to conduct. The Oratorio is composed of 50 short pieces including solos, instrumentals, and choir pieces, inspired by a pilgrimage that Swami Kriyananda took to the Holy Land in 1983.
Before the concert in the Expanding Light temple, the musicians and choir sat to meditate in our seats. We were joined in silence by the entering audience, and a tremendous vibration of peace began to fill the room. It had been a hectic time of preparation with many solos, ensembles, and instrumentals to put together, and the stillness was a calming balm, so inviting that I would have gladly just sat in silence for the next two hours.
What an extraordinary contrast to a typical concert experience, where the musicians are tuning up, chatting, or doing a last minute woodshedding on a difficult passage. The audience is typically just as restless, and not until the lights go down does the silence begin.
So here we were, coming together not for mere entertainment, but to consciously create together, as musicians and audience, an experience of inspiration that can be tangibly felt. Despite some brief technical difficulties, a soloist who was losing her voice, and a new amplification system to work with, the result was tremendous.
Before the concert, I coached the worried soloist. “Don’t be afraid and apologetic about the condition of your voice – instead, focus on the wealth of inspiration and devotion that you so beautifully channel. Convey that to the audience, no matter what squeaks might come out.” She ended up singing more beautifully than ever, with such depth of meaning. She told me afterwards, “yes – Love God! That’s all that really matters!”
A dear friend commented on the attunement that he felt between all of us. “Yes, I too could have been happy to sit for 2 hours in meditation, but what I felt from the music was a never ending renewal of inspiration that changed from piece to piece.”
Each experience of the Oratorio is slightly different for me, and performances right around Easter (last night’s was directly on Good Friday) have an especially powerful vibration for me. I could easily imagine myself in Galilee, listening to Jesus speak, getting zealously carried up in the excitement of Palm Sunday, and then realizing that I had missed the point entirely, and what I held most dear was being taken away, leaving me stunned and devastated. Gethsemane, performed by Paean Lee and myself
So deep and real was the experience that my consciousness began to slip, dwelling on the immaturity of those overzealous past habits. I wrenched myself into the present, and focused on manifesting once again through music the ever living presence of Christ within each of us. What glorious words to bring out from the choir, each one singing with utter conviction of the truth of their own experience:
Gone all our darkness,
In our souls Thy light we see.
Gone our delusions,
Clear now our vision:
In Thy joy we live ever free!
How oft, like sheep, we’ve strayed apart!
Now guided by Thy ray,
In inner freedom of the heart
Our night has turned to day!
After the performance, the audience decided to hold their applause, which to some might have proved to be a very uncomfortable 60 seconds. For us, it was a short invitation in stillness to go within and appreciate what we had just experienced. Many could have sat and gone deeper, but there was still much to be done and people to be greeted and congratulated. And many there were!
In the three performances in Palo Alto, Seattle, and Ananda Village, the combined choirs of over 120 sang for over 250 people, with 20 singers performing the Oratorio for the first time. Ther were many new soloists and instrumentalists, and a depth to the expression of the choir that to me is greatly satisfying. For those interested, I highly recommend watching the Palo Alto and Seattle performances online.
If you don’t already have it in your music collection, I strongly recommend obtaining the recordings of Swami Kriyananda’s masterpiece through Crystal Clarity or iTunes.
Finally, a recording from last night:
A New Tomorrow
Wishing you all a Blessed Easter, and may the Light of Christ truly shine upon you.
Posts from David Eby
- Become a Singing Spiritual Superhero
- Wishing You a Noble New Year
- The Light and the Bushel
- Also Starring God (as Himself)
- The Moments that Changed Everything
- The Fine Balance of Health and Lifestyle
- The Meditation Experiment
- The Better Devotees: Cats or Dogs?
- Sharing the Inner Presence of Ananda
- Day 5 of filming Cities of Light
- Day 4 on the set
- Day 3 on the set of Cities of Light
- Cities of Light Day 2 of filming
- Day 1 on the Set of Cities of Light
- An Extraodinary Meeting
- The Oratorio Experience
- Renunciation, Poverty Consciousness, and True Prosperity
- An Experiment in Unmitigated Happiness
- Untangling My Karma
- Contentment vs. Complacency
- The Spiritual Benefits of Juice Fasting
- Ananda Christmas Album Preview
- 33 Songs on Video!
- “Never despair, joy’s everywhere…”
- Spiritual Renewal Week Concert, 2011
- Caitlin and the Newborn Fawn
- Bliss in the Midst of Fatigue
- Honoring Good Friday in Dwapara Yuga
- “Open Your Heart to Me…”
- Master’s Market: A true test of community
- A Time of Awakening
- Resonating with Swami Kriyananda
- Leading With Joy
- The Surprising Consequence of Negativity
- Backstage with Swami Kriyananda
- Monday’s Concert
- Chanting Is Half the Battle
- “If you want to get to know me…”
- What Kind of Christians Are We?
- Inner Renewal Week Concert Recordings
- Musical Gems from a Blessed Month
- Living for God…with a Family
- 16 Yogis in an Elevator
- God God God
- O, Master
- Life Mantra
- “Eyes Filled with Divine Love”
- The Sacred Art of Singing
- Winter Renewal Week
- The Choice of Realities
- Tuesday’s Recording Session
- Overcoming a Karmic Bomb
- Ananda Concert Series – Grande Finale
- Living Wisdom School Christmas Concert
- Inner Awakenings: a Concert
- An Evening with St. Francis
- School Begins!
- The Spirit within the Music
- Recording Revelations of Christ Audio Book
- Entering the Aura of Swami Kriyananda