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November 16, 2012 , , , , , , ,

PSO at Heinz Hall

Last year I was very lucky to see the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra perform Handel’s Messiah as a fully staged opera. Everything about it was remarkable, even the serendipity of finding an excellent seat the day of the performance by just noticing the box office while I was on a walk. I grew up in Pittsburgh, but the Heinz Hall was new to me. Syria Mosque where I saw them in the 1960’s was gone like Forbes Field. In the lobby there was a great display about the life of Handel and the composition of the Messiah. He signed it SDG, in other words, he gave full credit to God for the music.  I had seen this phrase before.  It was written in German (those incredibly fancy letters you can’t read) on the outside of the school in Langweis, Switzerland, a small alpine village where my friend Steffi Burger lives.  I love all that writing on the outside of old Swiss buildings, including hex signs to protect the contents of the buildings.  They declare their faith and ask for protection in bold ( but hard to read) statements.  I had some trouble with the reading, but was sure God was involved (most of them are about God and work)  so I asked my friend, who also could not read it.  We asked Walter Engle, whose family had crossed the Davos pass with their cows to settle the area centuries ago.  He informed us that it said all glory to God (SDG).

School in Langweis

The protestant reformation was very into this idea and that is why it landed on the wall of the school.  I relate it to the Niyama, or internal practice, of surrender to God as it is written in Sanskrit, Ishvara-Pranidhana.  Apparently Handel went into a kind of trance and did speed composition under the heavy influence of spirit when he wrote the Messiah, signed it SDG and everyone knew what he meant.  Bach was into this also. In yoga practice  Ishvara is about trusting the divine flow, not so different from thy will be done. I wonder if by being a big student of linguistics I have stumbled upon the lowest common denominator of all religions. Surrender to God.

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nice post. Music is something that always seems to be a work of God to me



November 16, 2012

SDG: a reverent phrase in many religions.
My Roman Catholic nuns instilled the chant “for the greater honor and glory of God” into the hearts and minds of their school children. In some It became a phrase that accompanied many successes and failures of the human ego. The dedication for every task was performed as a moving meditation and eventually, or not, accompanied by an interior music and a sense of grace.


Gerry Zeck

November 18, 2012

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