TRACK LISTING OF NARRATION, DIALOGUE
CREDITS OF ILLUSTRATIONS & EXCERPTS FROM CD RELEASES:
"Lucifer Dialogues" from libretto for "Eden In Atlantis"
by Derek Strahan
as featured on CD "PAST LIFE RECALL" (total duration: 77'09") Revolve RDS005
Derek Strahan, Amanda Holdsworth, readers
Soundscaping, Sean Peter
"PAST LIFE RECALL" CD Program notes
"Devil in the Derail" - A short history of the Devil.
Biographies - Amanda Holdsworth, Derek Strahan
"Lucifer Dialogues" from libretto for "Eden In Atlantis" (duration 41'.38")
1. Eva 1'.54"
Lucifer: Her name was Eva, though in some tongues they say Eve. She lived in the distant past of our planet, the planet we call Earth. How long ago is not known. As long ago, perhaps, as it takes for our galaxy to make one revolution around its own axis. Perhaps, therefore, 26,000 years ago. She lived on an island in the ocean you call the Atlantic.
(CD - Excerpts from "Atlantis Variations, Part 3" (1992) for piano, on "Autumn Rhapsody" (JADCD 1096): Derek Strahan, piano.)
Eva: The earth was different in my day. There were two moons in the sky, and the weather was warm all year round. The sun appeared larger in our sky. The earth of our time was constantly fruitful. Without any effort on our part it was kind to us, and to all other creatures of every size, on land, in the air, and in the sea. Some of the larger beasts were dangerous to us, including fearful monsters called dragons, which are descended from a past age. Because of them, most humans lived in small, protected communities, behind walls, and only ventured into the forest to hunt, and to bring back meat.
2. Eden 2'.09"
Lucifer: Her community was called Eden and, apart from the nuisance caused by the large lizards and serpents, it was a Paradise. Other places, in other times have been called Eden, but her home on herr island was the first place which bore that name.
Eva: The name of our people was the Adami. Our ruler was always a woman, who was chosen strictly according to the time of her birth in the cycle of the first moon, which was called Selene. Our ruler was always named Iahu, after our principle goddess, who ruled over the forests and the hunt by authority of the two moons.
(CD - Excerpt from "Cult Of Diana" (1992) film score, on "Remembering Adrian Braun" (JADCD1073): Derek Strahan, synthesizer, Michael Scott, flute.)
3. Two Loves 3'21"
Eva: Let me take you back to the final days of Eden, to the days before the terrible destruction. I will tell you about my two loves. My first love was for a beautiful young man. His name was Daemon, which means 'spirit of nature'.
(CD - Excerpt from "Eden In Atlantis", on "Eden In Atlantis" (JADCD 1074): Michael Scott, alto flute; David Miller AM, piano.)
We were very much in love, in a way that was frowned upon by our community, which did not permit permanent attachments between a man and a woman, for this would undermine the rule of law by women, and, as everyone knows, rule by men brings oppression to women.
In order to be alone together, my lover and I broke a law of Eden, and met secretly in the sacred garden on the slopes of the great mountain, when the rest of the Adami were attending an important ceremony.
(CD - Excerpt from "The Australian Ark" - film score for Robert Raymond's wild life documentary series "Shell's Australia" (1969/73) on "Fandango" (JADCD1078) Suite 3: Bill Frater, flute; John Cran, bassoon; Derek Fairbrass & John Sangster, percussion.)
I knew that the stranger was watching us. He had to pass by the garden to reach his lair, which was in a cave further up the mountain. He was brought to our land five years before, in a boat from the great southern land. He always spoke kindly to me, and I knew that he loved me, but my heart was with Daemon. The stranger told me that he had been banished from his own country for breaking their laws. His name was Lucifer which, he told me, means 'one who brings light'.
Lucifer: And, through my arts, I did bring light in many forms to her community. I had knowledge of glass, of metals and of potions. Her leader, the Queen, Iahu, accepted me because of the benefits I brought them, but she always felt I was a threat, and she forbad me to talk about my homeland, which she knew to be ruled by men.
5. Eva's Arrest 4'13"
Eva: When I asked him why he had been banished, he told me that his only crime was to tell too many secrets to the common people. But once he told me that, at his trial, he caused a great commotion by using one of his inventions to burn down the Temple of the Great Eye. He seemed amused by that.
And so, on that fateful night, in the garden, as I was waiting for my lover, I knew that Lucifer was watching us from the shadows, and I could imagine what he was thinking.
4. Lucifer's Despair 5'20"
Eva! Eva! My salvation!
My hope! My despair!
If you but knew the truth about me!
If you but knew what enlightenment you have brought to me!
How frustrated my accusers would be
were they to know how their intended punishment
has instead brought me such joy!
They banished me!
They exiled me thousands of measures from my homeland,
seeking to chastise me for my pride!
They stole my work, my knowledge, my achievements!
They sought to humble me!
They sent me to do penance in exile, to live among people
with backward customs and superstitions!"
From among all the lands of the great Earth,
they chose to banish me to this island of primitives,
this island ruled by women!
This community in which I am an outcast,
in which I am tolerated only because of the teachings I impart!
But fate has defeated my accusers.
Fate has revealed to me the most precious knowledge,
which hitherto I lacked.
Despite all my learning, all my science,
I still lacked knowledge of the greatest mystery!
The mystery of love.
Love, irrational, impulsive, unchosen!
Love, the unfathomable mystery which now alone rules my life!
Love to which I must bow my will!
Women may not I rule me!
But I , Lucifer, now submit to one woman!
Eva! Eva! My salvation!
Salvation if you should love me!
Eva: And as I passed the night hours in my lover's arms, from the shadows I was being watched by the man who would soon become my second lover. I was being watched by Lucifer.
(CDs - Excerpt from "Eden In Atlantis", on "Eden In Atlantis" (JADCD 1074): Liza Rintel, soprano, Michael Scott; flute, David Miller AM, piano. Excerpt from "The Australian Ark" on "Fandango" (JADCD1078) Suite 4: Neville Amadio, alto flute.)
Eva: At dawn, still with my lover in the garden, Daemon questioned me about Lucifer. But our thoughts should have been on another man who loved me. Adam, the son of Iahu, our ruler, had noticed our absence from the ceremony and, even as Daemon and I spoke, was seeking us out to have us arrested for our transgression. Heedless of this threat, Daemon questioned me about Lucifer, and I did my best to reassure him.
You spend too much time with that old man.
He is not old.
DAEMON (trying to draw her to him again)
Well, he is older than me!
EVA (laughing, pushing him away)
Daemon, everyone is older than you!
You are the youngest and the most beautiful of all the young men!
Then stop pushing me away!
I think we should leave.
DAEMON grasps her and holds her.
So what does the great Lord Lucifer tell you?
Many things. He has great knowledge of past ages.
He told me that our home, this island,
in a past age was called by a different name.
And what was this name?
Atlantiha. That is a strange name.
I think it is a fine name. It has a wonderful sound.
Were I ruler of Eden I would change its name to Atlantiha.
Sometimes I want to dance around and sing this name out loud!
Then do so!
EVA sings a Cantilena, based on the name.
(CD - Excerpt from "Eden In Atlantis", on "Eden In Atlantis" (JADCD 1074): Liza Rintel, soprano. Michael Scott; flute, David Miller AM, piano.)
Lucifer: And at that point, Adam and his guards entered the garden and found them together. They were arrested and bound and taken for trial. As they left I heard Eva telling Adam that she knew why he was doing this: because he desired her and was jealous of Daemon. He didn't deny it, and Daemon called him a coward since he would not fight his own battle, but invoked the law to his own personal advantage.
Adam then gloated that the law had another surprise for them: that the Queen had chosen Daemon as her next Consort, which would remove him from Eva's circle. I, Lucifer, observed these events.
(CD - Excerpt from "Cult Of Diana" (1992) film score, on "Remembering Adrian Braun" (JADCD1073): Derek Strahan, synthesizer.)
6. The Gods Have Spoken 3'36"
The gods have spoken!
As one rival in love is removed, another takes his place!
The lovely Eva, bound and taken prisoner!
Can I find advantage in this?
Can I play the hero and rescue her?
But she would still love her young man.
Good sense warns me not to intervene.
And yet I cannot abandon her to the primitive justice
of this backward tribe!
Ah, Lucifer! The relentless power of love binds you to her,
whatever the outcome.
And then again ... Think deviously, Lucifer ...
There could be some advantage for you ...
Were you to rescue also Daemon ... ?
By rescuing Daemon, you would appear nobler in her eyes.
And would not that advantage you
Should other circumstances ensue?
Perhaps the gods have planted love in my soul
so that I will act as their agent ... to achieve what?
Can I read the intentions of the gods?
Who can? But what am I saying?
Do I even believe in the gods?
How can I? When so many believe
that my own achievements are worked by the gods!
How then can I, myself, believe in the gods?
Am I a god because I can work miracles
with fire and crystal?
With metal and glass?
Read and predict the movements of the stars?
They do not treat me as a god who desire the benefits of my
Am I a god because I excel in the crafts of peace and of war?
Such crafts do not secure me peace in my own life!
Nor do they give me power to win in my own private wars!
He looks up to the skies, and raises his arms in appeal.
So tell me, gods,
you writers of destiny,
you dabblers in fate -
Tell me, am I also a god?
Is it you who have given me the ability
to achieve such god-like wonders?
Or is it just a joke of blind fate, with no meaning?
He waits, with his arms still upheld.
What? No answer? No gesture? No sign?
No indication that you even exist?
How, then, can I believe in your existence?
How, when everything that I have done,
I have done without assistance
and solely by the use of my own intelligence?
Do I believe in you, the gods?
He stands a moment with arms still upraised, then lowers them, and shrugs.
No, I do not.
Do I believe myself to be a god?
Or, if I am a god, I am a most pathetic one.
A god who cannot find love!
(Excerpts from "Cult Of Diana" (1992) film score: Derek Strahan, synthesizer.)
7. Daemon's Death 2'.12"
(Underscore: Computer realisation from music score: Clarinet Concerto No. 1.)
Eva: Adam had other tricks in store, to separate me from Daemon. The law decreed that the Queen's consort must be decided by contest, which Adam knew well. Our trial went well for him. Because of our transgression, it was decreed that Daemon and I no longer associate with each other, under pain of banishment from Eden. Adam's scheming knew no bounds, and he cleverly recommended that Daemon should be given the chance to redeem himself by leading the next hunt for the Dragon in the Deep Forest - knowing that this was a sentence of death, for the leader almost always perishes.
Lucifer: At this point I, Lucifer, intervened, and offered to the hunt the use of my new invention, a Burning Eye made from glass, which could burn from a distance, using beams created from the rays of the Sun. To Adam's fury, the Queen allowed the use of this device. But, at the height of the battle with the Dragon, Adam stepped between the sun rays and the Burning Eye, cutting off its power, leading to the death of Eva's beloved, the valiant Daemon. Only I, Lucifer, witnessed this act of treachery, and I remained silent about it, though I could have sought favour with Eva by disclosure.
8. Lucifer's Lair 6'30"
Eva: Instead, he welcomed me to his lair, as I sought to recover from my distress, and there we spoke of many things, including the approach in the sky of a new star. At this point, only Lucifer knew about this heavenly intruder. He was observing through another of his inventions, made from glass - an invention he called a Narthex, through which he could study the heavens as if they were closer, looking through a Glass Eye fixed in a cane pipe.
(Excerpt from soundtrack "Fantasy" (1990) film score: Derek Strahan, synthesizer.)
Lord Lucifer, I am sad.
Of course you are sad. A bright star shone in your heaven,
and his name was Daemon. That star has fallen from heaven,
and no longer lights your life.
And with that light has gone all my hope
and every cherished belief I held about this existence.
Then you are indeed fortunate.
Fortunate? Lord Lucifer, how can you say that I am fortunate?
You are fortunate because you are now free of your beliefs!
What is belief?
If I say to you that the world will end tomorrow,
will you believe me?
Only if you can show me proof that the end is near,
and tell me clearly by what means
the gods will achieve such destruction.
But if I could show you proof of this beyond doubt,
then would you have no need of belief!
No need of belief?
LUCIFER (turning from the Narthex)
None, sweet Eva, because you would then
have knowledge of the end.
Knowledge brings certainty,
whereas belief is only necessary in the absence of proof.
People seek belief because they desire certainty.
Belief provides them with certainty when there is no proof.
They choose belief in the absence of proof
because they cannot live without certainty.
And once again, Lord Lucifer, you speak in riddles!
Despite my sadness, you make me laugh!
Then laugh, sweet Eva, and find in laughter a little happiness.
But is it truly a riddle, that which I have spoken?
You spoke it like a riddle!
But if you believe that the world will soon come to end,
will you be happy in that belief?
In my present state of sadness, Lord Lucifer,
nothing will bring me happiness, not even your riddles.
I could even welcome the end of the world,
for with its end, would also come an end to my grief.
But the other Adami, who live in happiness, Eva -
Would they find happiness in life, if they believed that tomorrow
Eden would vanish in a fury of fire and flood?
They would find no happiness in such a belief!
Then my point is well made, sweet Eva.
They are fortunate to be free of such a belief.
They are indeed fortunate.
But I fear their fortune will be short lived.
LUCIFER turns back to the Narthex, and continues his study of the heavens.
What are you doing, Lord Lucifer?
I am observing the heavens. I am watching the approach of a new star.
A new star?
LUCIFER continues his work, and makes notes. EVA gets up, moves to the mouth of the cave and looks up at the stars.
I am familiar with every star in the heaven.
I know and can name each star, and each constellation.
LUCIFER continues his work, peering through the Narthex.
Lord Lucifer, I see no new star.
In two days you will see it,
as will every Adami
and all peoples on the earth.
And all will wonder at it.
At first all will behold its brightness
and call it beautiful.
But soon, as it grows larger,
their wonder will turn to fear,
and, as the signs in the sky appear,
so will their fear begin.
And as their fear grows,
so will their knowledge grow,
and in that knowledge all will find certainty.
Certainty? Certainty about what?
Certainty that their world will end.
(CD - Excerpts from "Atlantis Variations, Part 3" (1992) for piano, on "Autumn Rhapsody" (JADCD 1096) Derek Strahan, piano.)
9. New Star 1'12"
It is hard to believe that this star,
which is so beautiful to behold,
will bring in a new age, with such turmoil.
How can you be sure that it will approach the earth?
As it moves through the sky,
it passes other stars,
and its position in the sky changes.
But the greatest sign lies in its size.
It is now becoming larger,
and, sweet Eva, if it is becoming larger,
then it is coming closer.
Lord Lucifer, I am afraid.
As am I. But the earth is not afraid.
This earth has suffered many visitations,
it has experienced many ages,
and after each age, it is born anew.
Every living creature that is born must die,
and what matters is not the manner of our death,
but the manner of our living.
You speak the truth, Lord Lucifer,
and it is a truth of great beauty.
But I am still afraid. I am afraid of the star,
and I am afraid to leave you and return to Eden.
Only sadness awaits me there.
10. Eva's Fear 1'10"
(CD - Excerpt from "The Australian Ark" on "Afternoon Light" (JADCD1076) Suite 2: Guy Henderson, cor anglais; Clarence Mellor, french horn; John Sangster, timpani.)
Listen to me, lovely Eva, and listen well.
You must not return to Eden.
You must remain here with me,
where you may find safety from the terrors
which the star will bring,
for the star is a comet, which burns.
Here we may perhaps remain safe from its fires,
safe from the fires which will blaze
when the comet rains flame from the sky,
and safe from the great waters
which will rise from the ocean
and sweep across the land.
Is Eden to be destroyed by such violence?
What has Eden done so to anger the gods?
LUCIFER controls his anger, and speaks with something approaching sullen resentment.
To what gods do you refer?
To the gods we name in our prayers.
Have you not told me that all people pray to gods,
whatever names they give to them?
If this destruction comes to pass,
you may believe it to be caused by the gods,
as many will, if they live to think about it at all!
I prefer to believe it is just a passing storm,
which may seem of great importance to the people of this earth,
but is of no importance whatsoever to the gods,
whoever they may be,
and even supposing that they exist at all!
You do not believe in the gods?
11. Three faults 4'22"
(CD - Excerpt from "The Australian Ark" Suite 4, on "Fandango" (JADCD1078) Suite 4: Neville Amadio, flute; Donald Westlake, clarinet; Robert W. Miller, 'cello.)
LUCIFER (smiles, gently)
Sweet Eva, you told me last night
that you yourself no longer believe in the gods!
Whatever their names might be!
EVA, who was expecting an angry outburst, also smiles.
And you, strange man, who makes me laugh despite my fear
and my unhappiness - you, who calls himself Lucifer -
What means your name, Lord Lucifer?
It means 'the one who brings light'. It is not my birth name.
My people gave me the name, because of my gifts.
And what means 'Lord'?
It is a title. In my land it means 'one who has authority'.
If you had authority, then why were you banished?
Because, sweet Eva, like you I offended the laws of my land.
Are you a wicked man, Lord Lucifer?
Are you a wicked woman, sweet Eva?
I do not believe so. I am guilty only of love.
As I am.
You? And who do you love, Lord Lucifer?
One day I will tell you. One day soon.
But was it for love you were banished?
In a sense. For love of my people.
You always talk in riddles.
That is one of my faults.
And what other faults do you have, Lord Lucifer?
I have three faults. Firstly, I am too curious.
I have a mind to explore all the earth,
all of the oceans and all of the sky.
Therefore I restlessly seek the means
to satisfy my curiosity.
I see no fault in that. What other faults do you have, Lord Lucifer?
Secondly, I am moved to great anger
when I encounter stupidity in others.
It angers me when a judgment is made
which is based on greed, or to gain an advantage,
or simply for lack of knowledge.
I see no fault in that. What other faults do you have, Lord Lucifer?
Thirdly, I believe without proof, in the strength of my own will.
I wish for what I will and then, having wished,
I act to bring about the fulfilment of my will.
I see no fault in that.
If you have no other faults but these, Lord Lucifer,
then I see in you no fault!
You see no fault in me, sweet Eva,
not because I am without fault,
but because you have a mind of your own
to make a judgment of your own!
Of course I have a mind of my own!
Everybody owns their own mind!
Do they? Consider Iahu, Dove of Peace and Queen of Eden,
does not she own the mind of each Adami?
Does not each Adami think the thoughts of the Queen,
as she makes known her thoughts to them?
EVA gives out a peal of laughter, louder then before.
Lord Lucifer, now I know what you are a wicked man!
Why you think thus of me?
Because everything you say has about it the aura of truth.
Yet everything you say challenges the rule of law !
Then, sweet Eva, you must make a difficult choice.
I must? And what choice is that?
You must choose either to follow the law, or to follow me!
There is a pause, as EVA considers this.
Now I am certain that you are a very, very wicked man!
But now I think I love you for your wickedness!
LUCIFER continues to watch her, now no longer smiling. Seeing his expression, EVA's smile also vanishes.
And I know, lovely Eva, that I love you deeply, and eternally,
for your beauty, and for your laughter,
and for your mind, which understands the deepest mysteries.
They look at each other, then slowly and inevitably, fall into an embrace.
12. Eden On Fire 2'18"
(CD - Excerpts from "The Australian Ark" Suite 2 on "Afternoon Light" (JADCD1076) : Neville Amadio, alto flute; Donald Westlake, bass clarinet; Guy Henderson, cor anglais; Clarence Mellor, french horn; John Cran, bassoon; Derek Fairbrass & John Sangster, percussion.)
Eve: It was at this point, as I embraced Lucifer, that Adam and his guards found us together. I was taken by the guards and imprisoned, as Adam unleashed his plans to assassinate his mother, the Queen, and institute himself as King of Eden. In his madness, he was still under the delusion that I would consent to his lust, and become his Consort.
Lucifer, knowing that the approaching star would bring disaster, used his wiles to extract me from my imprisonment and together we made our way back to his lair. Adam's plans for power came to nothing, for as the star approached there were increasing signs in the sky heralding our impending doom.
Lucifer: To their amazement and horror, the Adami watched a fabulous drama played out in the heavens. The star, now of great size, was seen to approach our second moon, and to join with it in a great celestial conflagration. From their mutual destruction, burning fragments were drawn to the earth, and thus began a holocaust of fire, as blazing meteors rained down on the earth, setting fire to Eden.
Eve: Lucifer and I watched this spectacle in safety from the open mouth of his cave, high on the mountain. As we stared down at Eden in flames, Adam himself appeared before us in a deranged state. He was still possessed by his own madness. Heedless of the mounting destruction around us, and even after Lucifer revealed his guilt in causing Daemon's death, Adam was still consumed by his passion for me ...
13. Lucifer's defiance 3'08"
(CD - Excerpts from "Atlantis Variations, Part 3" (1992) for piano, on "Autumn Rhapsody" (JADCD 1096) Derek Strahan, piano.)
Lucifer: Adam turned around from us and, looking out from the mouth of the cave beheld Eden, now entirely in flames, as showers of meteorites continued to bombard it. Even then, he could not accept the verdict of the sky, and turned back to face us. Behind Adam a huge wave could be seen rising from the ocean, and behind it others following.
Adam turned again and this time beheld the vast wave rear from the ocean, break over the shoreline of Eden and roar inland, engulfing the fires. As other waves followed, meteors continued to plunge into the monstrous breaking crests, throwing up clouds of steam. In despair, Adam, giving a final cry, leapt from the mouth of the cave into the maelstrom. As burning rocks now battered the mountain itself, I sought refuge in Lucifer's arms.
Let the gods think what they will.
It is no concern of ours,
just as we are no concern of theirs.
I defy the gods!
Let the gods play their games,
laughing as they throw their fireballs to the earth,
laughing as they churn the waters of they deep,
and laughing as they trample on the works of mankind,
like children breaking their own toys!
We will survive their spiteful games, sweet Eva.
And when the thunder ceases, and the waters recede,
and the curtain of clouds rolls back to reveal a new sun,
a new earth and a new age,
then shall you and I be the first people of this age.
We will be the new Adami, and I will be your new Adam!
EVA (throwing herself back into his arms)
And I will be your Eva!
14. Deep Forest - Music interlude. 2'17"
Computer realisation from music score: Clarinet Concerto No. 1, opening of second movement. Intended as prelude to Act 2 "Eden In Atlantis". This short passage provides an example of what the full orchestral score of the opera might sound like.
Absence of adequate funding over the past decade has obliged me to embark on development of this work by stealth, in various works of less ambitious scale. At the age of 67 you might expect me to feel some slight impatience to get cracking on the full score. However, as I have a life expectancy of 300 years, haste is uncalled for.
I hope this text might encourage you to acquire the CD "Past Life Recall" which contains this text-and-music work of 41'34" duration. The balance of the CD (total duration 77'09") contains other verse with soundscaping and music.
The following excerpts from program notes written for the CD release give some indication of my approach to the subject matter, and, with reference to books I have read, explain the basis for the characterisation of the Serpent (in the Adam and Eve scenario) as a dissident scientist called Lucifer, who has been banished from his homeland.
PAST LIFE RECALL
REVOLVE RDS 005
A CD PRESENTING VERSE BY DEREK STRAHAN
SPOKEN BY AMANDA HOLDSWORTH AND DEREK STRAHAN
WITH SOUNDSCAPING BY SEAN PETER & BOB SCOTT.
Extract from program notes
GENESIS OF THE WORKS:
"Lucifer Dialogues" is a verse & music work adapted from a libretto I have written titled "Eden In Atlantis", this being a development for the first in a proposed cycle of four operas on the subject of antediluvian civilisations - The Atlantis Project. The aim of this exercise is to give an impression of the dramatic content of the proposed first opera through narrative and dialogue, and of its proposed musical content through excerpts from my compositions: both featured and used as underscoring. Performance organisations and opera producers interested in how this project is progressing are invited to get in touch with me through contact details provided below.
I have been composing music and libretti for this project for over a decade now, creating material for The Atlantis Project in most of the music commissions I have worked on over the past decade - chamber, concert and film music, as indicated in details below, and in the Discography under Music works in "Atlantis" series on Jade CDs. In 1990 the Australia Council assisted me in composing an Atlantis work commissioned by flautist Michael Scott - "Atlantis" for flute/alto flute & piano - which was premiered* at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, given in a Masters Degree Recital by Ms. Belinda Gough, one of Mr. Scott's senior students. *Her brilliant performance with pianist Jo Allan was recorded and was released on the CD "Voodoo Fire" JADCD 1063.
Opera Australia (Australia's national opera company) has consistently taken a friendly interest in the project, kindly introducing me to the splendid soprano, Liza Rintel, who premiered and recorded* my 25 minute Scena, "Eden In Atlantis", working in collaboration with flautist Michael Scott and pianist David Miller, AM. Excerpts from their premiere performance of 1996 are heard on this CD. (*as released on JADCD 1074 "Eden In Atlantis")
In this re-visiting of the Adam & Eve scenario, the serpent is characterised as Lucifer, a dissident scientist who has been banished from his homeland for revealing forbidden knowledge to the common people. He has been exiled on an island where society is organised on matriarchal principles, and is ruled by Iahu, the tribal matriarch and mother of Adam. (The name Iahu is an earlier female version of the name Jehovah, as given in Sumerian records. Ref. "The Greek Myths", Robert Graves, Penguin, Revised 1960.)
The Dialogues are linked by narrative. They include
**Lucifer's statement of his unrequited love for Eva;
**Eva's problems with Adam, who is jealous of her romance with, Daemon, a young man who, in character and by name, is a nature spirit;
**Iahu's condemnation of the romance of Eva and Daemon;
**Daemon's death through Adam's conspiracy;
**Love dialogues of Eva and Lucifer during the hours preceding the destruction of Eden by fire (by an asteroid strike on the earth).
**Lucifer's defiance of the gods in the face of global cataclysm.
For more details on the "Atlantis" 4-opera project, please go to the Portfolio section.
"London letters, 1960" contains reflections in verse on various events of sociological and/or romantic significance, some frivolous, some illusory and some portentous.
"First Encounter With The Devil" and "Experiences With The Anima" have already been published in print "Public Poetry Volume One" (Crucible Books 1987) which can be acquired online at Prints Products. This 139 page volume contains verse by 21 Australian poets, all of which was heard at readings at a series of weekly gatherings which took place in the mid-1980s at Watson's Bay, a harbourside suburb in Sydney, Australia. These were organised by one of the poets, David O'Brien, and were of a lively and congenial nature, resulting in publication of the anthology mentioned above. "Past Life Recall" was also heard at these. The impetus to write these three works came from my wish to contribute to these events, but they were also, all, primarily designed as libretti for proposed song cycles. I hope, meanwhile, that they also stand on their own as verse. The narrative content of these poems derives from work I was doing at the time on various projects: a feature film, an opera libretto as well as song cycles.*
The situations depicted in all of the works on this CD are fictitious. The emotions depicted are based on reality in that they are common to romantic entanglements of the kind that most humans experience during their mortal existences. In "First Encounter With The Devil" and "Past Life Recall" I attempt a Rashomon-type** exercise - offering contrasting mirror images of the same fictional scenario.
*One libretto from this period, "Rose Of The Bay", was set to music on a commission from the distinguished mezzo-soprano Lauris Elms, whose perrformance of the song cycle was recorded by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and has been released on CD.
**"Rashomon" is a Japanese film (1951) which gave four different versions of the same violent event, representing the viewpoints of different participants. The MGM musical "Les Girls" (1957) used a similar narrative device in treating a romantic contretemps.
DEVIL IN THE DERAIL:
Like a red thread in a blue cloth, the Devil keeps surfacing in the proto-dramas which make up this collection. Should I try to explain or excuse this? Probably not, since the Devil is just doing what he has always done from the earliest days of drama, namely, intruding. As a comic anti-hero he was a constant (and very popular) presence in medieval morality plays. In later Faustian drama and opera from the Renaissance onwards, as a sinister supernatural presence, he was equally popular. In music, so goes the moralist's lament, the Devil "always has the best tunes"!
It is because of his intrusions that the best laid plans go astray, like the best laid rail tracks: unsurprisingly, since this was his role in the biblical record where, as a satan, an angel, he began his career as God's loyal assistant, testing the faithful through temptation - before going into business as an independent. "Angel", is the word that translates the Hebrew term for messenger ('mal'ah') into Greek ('angelos'). A "satan" was an angel who "creates an obstruction", hence an "adversary". (ref: "The Origins of Satan", Elaine Pagels, Random House 1995. Also "The Prince Of Darkness" Jeffrey B. Russell, Thames & Hudson 1989)
However, in arriving at a character for Lucifer in my libretto, I have drawn on an earlier model pertaining to the tradition of the hermetic sage, who brought knowledge of the arts and of government to the human race. The archetype of the magus is the Egyptian ibis-headed God, Thoth, who became identified with the Greek god Hermes when Egyptian and Greek cultures merged under the Ptolomaic Pharaohs (the last of which was Cleopatra). When hermetic wisdom was re-discovered during the Renaissance, Hermes was thought to have been an historical figure, whose alchemical treatises laid the foundations for modern scientific rationalism.
Meanwhile, however, Hermes was also thought of as a messenger-God in the Greek Pantheon (becoming Mercury for the Romans). In this guise, he resembles Loke, the God of Fire in Nordic mythology, another trickster God, whose cleverness is much sought after by the other gods, for solving problems. In the Greek pantheon, it is not Hermes, but another fire God, Prometheus, who assumes the mantle of the magus, and, unlike Thoth (who was revered for bringing knowledge to humans) Prometheus is severely punished for bringing us "forbidden knowledge".
Thus, over the ages, in the human record, the magus has fallen from grace (excepting the attendance of the three Magi at the birth of Christ.) The magus has, indeed, become the "fallen angel": which brings us to Lucifer, whose name means "light-bringer", and who, like Prometheus, reaped the whirlwind when, as the serpent, he revealed forbidden knowledge to Adam and Eve in Eden. In short, he who was the Sage has become the Devil - the fallen angel, the trickster, and also, of course, the horned God, Pan, representing unrestrained sexuality.
This strange metamorphosis has occurred because of a simple and well-known process of demotion, which is activated every time a new religion is established. At this point, the gods of the old religion become the demons of the new one. The "light-bringer" becomes the "Prince of Darkness"; and among his acolytes is Bel (the beautiful) now uglified as Beelzebub. (The Devil himself is often called by the names of his attendant demons).
Why is this disreputable character is still with us? Mainly, perhaps, because of his theological usefulness. It is often asked why God "allows evil". Clearly, on this charge, the Devil gets God off the hook. by taking full responsibility for evil himself. Moreover, since he is only a sub-deity, the Devil allows monotheistic religions to remain mono. Though co-existent with God, he is, after all, only temporarily immortal - free to wreak mischief until his services are dispensed with on Judgement Day. Theology is not without its pragmatic conveniences.
The Devil also updates himself regularly. He has been increasingly represented in drama and opera as a smooth operator, well dressed, sophisticated and a consummate conman. There are, in addition, many who argue that the modern scientist, who seeks above all things, knowledge, is cast if not in the mould of the Devil then certainly in that of Faust: as do Michael Baignent and Richard Leigh in their splendid study of Hermetic science "The Elixir and The Stone" (Penguin, 1997). In "Eden In Atlantis" I have not tried to rehabilitate Lucifer; but I have tried to restore his complexity of character. In the final lines of the libretto (quoted in this CD) I have also offered a literal explanation for the presence of the Devil's DNA in the "old Adam". Some might construe that this explanation provides a scientific underpinning for the notion of "original sin" - that is, if you regard being driven by a thirst for "forbidden knowledge"* as inherently evil.
* In "Eden In Atlantis" Lucifer's "forbidden knowledge" includes an understanding of the properties of potions, metals and glass. For evidence of the existence of lenses in antiquity, read "The Crystal Sun" by Robert Temple, Arrow Books 2000.
To Robert Raymond of Opus Films, firstly for commissioning me to write music for his epic 13-part wild life documentary series "Shell's Australia" (1969/73) secondly for allowing the release of Suites drawn from the sound track recordings on Jade CDs over the past five years, and thirdly for allowing me to use excerpts on this CD. Due to the primal subject matter dealt with in the TV series, many themes from the music I wrote then are finding their way into the preliminary scores I am writing for the Atlantis Project.
To Geoffrey Brown of Combridge International, firstly for commissioning me to write music scores for two feature films we made together ("Fantasy" and "Cult Of Diana"), secondly for allowing the release of Suites drawn from the sound track recordings of these on a Jade CD in 1997, and thirdly for allowing me to use excerpts on this CD. "Cult of Diana" is the pilot episode for a TV series titled "Inspector Shanahan Mysteries" (as shown on Channel 9 in Australia) and though a modern murder mystery, some of the music written invokes pagan rites involving the Roman moon goddess Diana. The "moon" theme is heard on Track 2 of "Lucifer Dialogues".
To Bob Scott and Sean Peter for Soundscaping: Recording for this project began in 1996 with Bob Scott, who developed ingenious soundscaping for some of the verse. Work resumed in 2002 with Bob's colleague Sean Peter, who earlier gave splendid creative input during remastering of my song tapes for the CD "Take me To Your Leader". Their respective contributions are indicated in the track-listed credits, and include inspired interpretations of my suggestions plus their own highly inventive sound concepts.
Derek Strahan, December 2002. All Rights Reserved Copyright © Derek Strahan 2002
Copyright protection: All verse & music are by Derek Strahan and are copyright protected. (except Berlioz quotations in Track 19, and there are two hidden quotations from Beethoven, in Tracks 15 & 23). All music elements are either especially written for the tracks or taken from recordings of Strahan's works, as indicated in the track-listed credits.
Disclaimer: The situations depicted in all of the works on this CD are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental - excepting, of course, the references, in "Lucifer Dialogues" and in "Past Life Recall" to mythical or historical figures who lived or are thought to have lived in past eras ranging from 26,000 to 200 years ago.
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