Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Putting things into Perspective

We live in a big universe. Do you realize how big it is? I can’t comprehend it’s size, and I doubt anyone else can either. Scientists have put the edge of the universe at more than 90 billion light years away.  Since the universe continues to expand at an enormous rate – it continues to move that edge farther and farther away. Is there a limit? Some astronomers think that the “blank” area is infinite. How can that be? Where are we anyway? We have to be somewhere don’t we? There has to be some limit doesn't there?

Let’s think about this for a moment. According to scientists, if there really is infinity out there, it means that every possible thing can and will happen.  Infinity means no limits to the possibilities. It means that there are other people, other worlds, other everything and someone identical to you (and I) reading (or writing) this blog. Does that give you the heebeegeebees?

If you don’t like the infinite universe theory there is the string theory that our universe is but one of an infinity number of universes (there’s that infinite again.) Personally, it seems if the first one is true, and everything can happen, then the second one can be included in the first one… ad infinitum

Now let’s go back the other way. Think about how small out universe in this vast expanse. Think about how small our planet is in this universe. Think about how small we are on this planet. Think about how small molecules or atoms are in our body. Think about the fact that we have no real clue how small the smallest thing can be. Is there infinity in that direction too? Perhaps we in human form are occupying space the middle of all of the infinity of sizes.

My point is not astronomy. It is perspective. As a writer we are creating universes. Even non-fiction books create some kind of “bubble of knowledge.” We can never create anything near the vastness of the real universe. (I suppose J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most complex literary universes.)

It seems to me that our written creations are universes in themselves. Maybe a part of the string theory. Maybe somewhere out there what we write is really coming true. If there is infinity of possibilities, this must be true. So what I have just said is true, and what you have recently written is taking place perhaps some billions of light years away. Odd, when you think about it. Downright odd.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mozart's Requiem

Here is a script I wrote for a performance of Mozart's Requiem. I had some requests to make it available, so here it is. Feel free to use is, but please include a reference to this work

A Script for the Mozart Requiem
Alan C. Elliott

Speaker 1: The requiem mass is an ancient service of worship that began in the 2nd century to celebrate the life of faithful Christians. Beginning in the 8th century, the mass took on a musical form. The word “Requiem” means rest in Latin, and most of these masses are written in that language.

Speaker 2: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died on December 5, 1791 leaving the composition for his Requiem unfinished. Using his partially completed orchestral scores and his musical sketches on scraps of paper, other composers filled in the blanks to allow us to experience the genius and glory of this work.

Speaker 1: Although many versions of the Requiem mass have been written over the centuries, Mozart’s is considered the most influential contribution to this musical form.

Speaker 2: Mozart’s Requiem has been performed in honor and memory of many important figures throughout history including Fredric Haydn, Frédéric Chopin, and John F. Kennedy.

Speaker 1: In music and words, the intent of a Requiem is to take the listener to the sacred throne of God, seeking rest, solace, and understanding about this journey we call a lifetime. In it we celebrate our transition from this temporary earthly form into an eternal life with Him.

Speaker 2: As we listen to this music tonight, let these words of remembrance become our own prayer:

Speaker 1: We begin this sacred journey with a prayer of supplication -- a Kyrie: Lord, Have Mercy on us…

Speaker 2: May Your light shine on us in the same way your grace has saved those who have gone before…

 I. Introitus: Requiem aeternam (choir and soprano solo)
II. Kyrie eleison (choir)

Speaker 1: A trumpet will sound and summon all to God’s throne, where everything will be made known. Death will marvel as God’s creatures arise.

Speaker 2: And even though we are miserable beings and all that we have done in life is revealed in Your light of truth; have mercy on us; grant us forgiveness of all our sins.

III. Sequentia (text based on sections of the Dies Irae):Dies irae (choir)

Tuba mirum (soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solo)

Rex tremendae majestatis (choir)

Speaker 1:  The curse of sin is rebuked and now we are with those who are blessed. Humbly and meekly we pray for healing. Tearfully we recognize our guilt, and thankfully we accept your mercy.

Speaker 2: Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, free your children from punishment, from the deep pit and the mouth of the lion, and bring us into the holy light that you promised to Abraham and his seed.

Recordare, Jesu pie (soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solo)
Confutatis maledictis (choir)

Lacrimosa dies illa (choir)

Speaker 1:  As an offering to you O Lord, we give You our sacrifices and prayers of praise.

Speaker 2: Accept them on behalf of those souls whom we remember today. Let those who have loved you pass from death to life eternal.

IV. Offertorium: Domine Jesu Christe (choir with solo quartet)

Speaker 1: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts; Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.

Speaker 2: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Versus: Hostias et preces (choir)

V. Sanctus:
Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth (choir)

Speaker 1: O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

Speaker 2: May everlasting light shine upon your saints, O Lord, Grant us eternal rest, and may everlasting light shine upon us…

Together: For You are eternally merciful.

Benedictus (solo quartet, then choir) 
VI. Agnus Dei (choir)