Without a Trace
Composed especially for Keith Snell, this four-movement work blends together Native American and Taoist beliefs. There are many similarities between the two cultures as they both seek to live in harmony with Mother Earth by understanding the subtle energy that sustains life.
Without a Trace was inspired by quotations from the Tao Te Ching written by the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu in the 6th century BC. According to legend, Lao Tzu was “keeper of the archives” at the Imperial Court. When he was 80 years old, he set out for the western border of China, toward what is now Tibet. He was saddened and disillusioned that men were unwilling to follow the path to goodness. At the border a guard asked Lao Tzu to record his teachings before he left. He then composed in 5,000 characters the Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power). Upon completing the book, he then disappeared…..without a trace!
For more information about Keith Snell and left hand repertoire please go to:
The Lotus Blooms
In the first movement, the melody floats serenely above a drone (low sustained notes). The drone represents a well grounded, peaceful and spacious heart. The lotus melody is gentle, contemplative and enchanting as it seeks to reflect the practice of meditation by releasing all thoughts.
The Buddha is often portrayed seated on a lotus flower to remind us to rise above the suffering of this world. The spirit of the best of mankind is spotless, like the lotus in the muddy water which does not adhere to it.
Ear of the Wind
The second movement is inspired by the Navajo Tribe of Monument Valley (Utah). The first theme represents the mountainous rock strata imprinted with the history of its people and place. Strength, pride, bravery and resilience are all suggested by bold and colourful chords. In contrast, the soft caressing second theme evokes the gentle movement of the wind. The love melody stirs the sands of time in the empty dessert releasing stories of passions and hardships on the land. A third theme, descriptive of a hawk, bridges the two themes. As the music rides the air currents, the hawk is seeking its prey, hovering, then finally descends ‘to earth’ the message through the fleshy sacrifice.The Navajo people are sustained as a nation because of their enduring faith in the Great Spirit and are the largest tribe in the US today. Ear of the Wind is an actual monument in the valley.
Wu – Wei
In the third movement, various melodic themes capture the landscape, temples, rivers, cherry blossoms and ancient warriors of China. The music explores the impact of cultural traditions and how they are affecting the balance of humanity’s relationship with nature. Throughout the work, the bells call for “the ring of truth” as the cracks of dissonant uncertainty are beginning to show. Natural rhythms are contrasted with the rigid forcing rhythms of mechanization.The beauty and harmony found in nature entice the people back to understanding the sacred balance between the inner and outer world.
In returning to the Tao (the way or path), the soft and invisible power is revealed within all things. When in harmony with the flow, innate intelligence takes over and the right action happens by itself.
The final movement returns to the spacious, contemplative qualities of the opening movement. Above the same drone, a new peaceful, light melody brings us to a greater mindfulness of the present moment.
It is believed that to truly let go into the flow of the Tao, one becomes like an empty vessel. Sound vibrations are only transitory. We too are like the ripples on a pond but in moving with experiences, we are enriched on every level. It is said that the Sage is able to work in harmony with the Tao by not using more energy than is needed. When the task is done, all will return back to the source….without a trace.
Bundles of all four movements of Without a Trace are available too:
The Whispering Pines
Deep in the forest of the great Canadian wilderness the wind was rustling through the birch bark trees calling me to hear their story of times past and the First Nations People that inhabited this land. The songs can still be heard as deep memories imprinted in time.
If trees could talk – what would they say?
A warm summers day on Toronto Island and a secluded bay. The deep blue sky is reflecting light from the ripples of the gentle waves in the shallow water. It lulls me with its patterns and calmness. An accident had happened that week as a young Japanese girl fell over Niagara Falls. Her memory was with me at the Island as I felt the sadness of this sudden death. This is her lagoon as well. Rest in peace dear one.
We are all passing through different stages of life cycles. As featured on the new youtube, the transparency of the
luminous reflective water is mirroring our own passing
from here and beyond……
In memory of my very dear friend Liz.