Monday, March 4, 2019

Echoes of the Music of the Ainur

My newest exhibit - "Echoes of the Music of the Ainur" - is now on display through the end of April at the UW-Madison Fluno Center. I've included a couple of images from the collection in this post along with the exhibit description.  Stop by and view all 34 images when you get the chance. Thanks!

Echoes of the Music of the Ainur

'It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives the echo of the music of the Ainur more than any other substance that is in this Earth.'     J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion
In Tolkien's mythical masterpiece "The Silmarillion", the 'Music of the Ainur' refers to the great song composed by the Ainur or Holy Ones; immortal spirits existing before the dawn of Creation. At first harmonious, the composition of the Great Song soon devolved into two themes that
'were utterly at variance.'
'The one was deep and wide and beautiful, but slow and blended with an immeasurable sorrow, from which its beauty chiefly came.' 
'The one was deep and wide and beautiful'
 'The other ... was loud and vain, and endlessly repeated... And it essayed to drown the other music by the violence of its voice.' 

'The other ... was loud and vain ... it essayed to
drown the other music by the violence of its voice.'

It is from this epic score with its opposing themes that the Universe was created.  And remnants of these opposing themes can still be heard in the ancient voices of water - 'The Echoes of the Music of the Ainur.'

When I photographed the images in this exhibit I heard and was inspired by the 'echoes' resident in the water before me. The images in the exhibit are pictorial verses highlighting the two opposing themes interwoven into the Great Song of creation.  Although less obvious than the visible elements depicted in each photograph, the echoes were also captured - if only figuratively.  From the roar of waterfalls, thunder of crashing surf, the delicate rhythms of waves gently lapping on the side of a boat or the peaceful silence of a calm lake at dawn, the echoes exist just below the surface.

So while viewing the images take a moment and "listen" for the echoes of the two themes, for each is
'part of the whole and tributary to its glory.'

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