When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
How curious it is that we humans are so inclined to see ourselves as separate from “Nature,” and so inclined to busy ourselves with only that which is man-made! We race past the beauty that is available to us, from the smallest flower petal to the towering tree, from floating fireflies to soaring hawks, from the golden sun to the silver moon, seeing only cars and buildings and computer screens. Fortunately, the wise among us—our poets and our children—remind us that we are actually connected in a fundamental way to the flora and fauna and geology and astronomy that we call the natural world, and that when our attention to this connection wanes, we lose the power of nature to both calm and revitalize.
In this concert season of the Masterworks Chorale, we seek to give voice to poets and composers who celebrate nature and reconnect us to our foundation in the living world. From our Christmas concert with its images of snowy trees, shining stars, and animals around the manger; through works with string quartet that evoke birdsong, sunrise, and lake water in our Classics concert; to our Collage concert with songs about flowers and creatures that fascinate and inspire us, we’ll offer music that speaks to our core.
Let’s set aside some moments this year to consider the web of life rather than the world wide web, to listen to live human voices sing of the majestic and humble beauty of the world in which we live, to “rest in the grace of the world,” as Wendell Berry put it, and find peace and joy. I hope that you’ll join me this season for beautiful and meaningful music that connects us both to each other and to all the wonders of nature.
-Tim Cloeter, Artistic Director