Prudens Viae Nihil Moveor

(I know my path. I do not move.)

from Rhapsody of the Soul

By on 8-14-2008 in Rhapsody of the Soul

by Gary Powell

rhapsody of the soul "I know my path" graphicIn 1981, I was unknowingly preparing myself to write and compose “Rhapsody of the Soul.” Al K. Mustin, the founder and leader of Austin’s Church of Today, spoke on how most of us repeat our mistakes over and over again until we finally wake up, stop the cycle, and transform. I was the churches’ Director of Music. On that day, we pondered over how to musically support this idea of patterned behavior with music within the church service. Then, I suddenly remembered the chorus from the Olivia Newton John song, “Please, Mister, Please.”

Please, Mister, please, don’t play B-17
It was our song, it was his song, but it’s over
Please, Mister, please, if you know what I mean
I don’t ever wanna hear that song again

I’m guessing that in 1981, “Please, Mister, Please,” was not being sung in many churches. Luckily for me, Al Mustin and I shared an appreciation for creative exploration. I sang the song as Al implored, “We keep putting yet another dime in the jukebox, continuing to press B-17, thinking we’ll hear a different song.” Psychologists teach us that sometimes we create patterns of behavior in order to manage a singular traumatic event or chronic trauma from earlier in life. But, at some point, when the difficulties are no longer present, our entrenched behavior begins to work against us. Being stuck in our patterns is another way of losing ourselves: losing our highest and best use. Some fifteen years later, I found myself writing about this same idea – pressing B-17 – but this time in Latin and, more musically deeply interpreted.

There is in human nature a compulsion to repeat. Indeed, it is called the repetition compulsion. It compels us to do again and again what we have done before, to attempt to restore an earlier state of being…..but, until we can mourn and let go of that past, we are doomed to repeat it. – Judith Viorst, Necessary Losses

rhapsody of the soul gary powell composer

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Rhapsody of the Soul

(Separation, Loss and the Hope for Healing and Resolution)

An original work for the Austin Contemporary Ballet
Choreographed by Greg Easley, Artistic Director
Composed and Produced by Gary Powell
Latin Translations by Barry Brandenburg

1. Suavis Unitas Ne Discedas (Sweet oneness depart Not.)
2. Veniri Necesse Mihi Pati (It must come. I must suffer.)
3. Prudens Viae Nihil Moveor (I know my path. I do not move.)
4. In Umbris Progreditur Et Novit Amicos (It moves in shadows and knows my friends.)
5. Timens Decedende. Timens Manendi (Scared to leave. Scared to stay.)
6. In Morte Perditus (Lost in death.)
7. Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison (Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.)

Amy Atchley – Soprano
Chris Martin – Alto
Billy Henry, Tenor
Gary Powell – Tenor
Illustrations: Antonio Muñoz

All Content of Gary Powell’s Site is Licensed Under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License


One Comment

  1. Fantastic post. Such a true phenomenon and interesting how you weaved your discourse with the church, your production, and the book Necessary Losses, which I’ve read and was moved by. And I’d even go farther and bring up the repetition of mistakes in trying to play a piece of music and the repetition in music itself. Not quite the same, but repetition, whether good or bad, is familiar and comfortable.

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