Nineteen Images of the Divine, book 3

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Nineteen Images of the Divine is an extended suite for piano solo in 19 movements, lasting just under one hour.

The movements are titled after the names of each month of the Badì’ Calendar, as used by Bahá’ís around the world. There are 19 months containing 19 days and the month Names are considered to be attributes of the Creator God. Each movement meditates on their possible meaning, insofar as humans can appreciate such meanings.

The 19 months have been further subdivided into four groups, which are three, four, six and six months long respectively. The music is therefore divided into four books, as described below. The ultimate link between the Names and the music can only be made by the listener.

Book 3: Unity of God with His Creation: God makes men to die, but by death to temptation of the material world.

Perfection: Naturally, God is perfect in every way, but this is also a reminder that humans should strive for both inner and outer perfection. The music is to be played gracefully and is based on slow repetitive phases which gradually grow. The music gathers pace and appears to fill our souls as if the Holy Spirit is descending upon us. At the end, the music rises in prayer to the Most High.

Names: The Holy Writings of Bahá’u’lláh attribute this to His attributes, which He says have also been ascribed to all humans, in the form of their inherent talents and faculties. The music, marked ‘impassioned’, begins with a variant of the 7/8 theme in the 5th movement, Light. This is followed by a faster, animated section consisting of rapid scale-like passages. These two types of music alternate and are varied, ending with the rapid scales in both hands.

Might: The Power of Might turns ‘Godly perfections into goodly actions’. After a statement of powerful chords, a transformation of the theme from the 2nd movement, Glory, can be heard. The music is marked to be played ‘grandly’. These two strands alternate and are developed as God’s Might is transformed into our goodly actions.

Will: God’s Will has brought creation into being. Also, all humans must act in accordance with the Will of God. This music is marked Affettuoso (with a tender feeling), and is based on simple and slow repetition of chords, alternating with short melodic phrases.

Knowledge: Bahá’u’lláh says, ‘Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent.’ The music is marked ‘with motion’ and consists primarily of fast ascending phrases which express the ladder for our ascent.

Power: Bahá’u’lláh says, ‘The source of courage and power is the promotion of the Word of God, and steadfastness in His Love.’ The music, marked to be played majestically, mirrors the 4th movement, Grandeur: strong chords alternating with a theme based on the theme of that movement. Powerful chords end this movement.




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