Firstly, let me begin this post with saying that the “no complaints” experiment was awesome and I committed to it all weekend- not for just 24 hours. I have experienced some serious magic and serendipity occurring in my life since that experiment too, so I am truly mindful now of any complaints that might tumble from my voice box and just sort of biting my tongue if I feel something like a complaint pouring out or even sayng “wow that was me complaining” – in a way to own it and dissolve it. I have realised how complaining is essentially dumping energy onto the listener and I have also realised how often we modern day humans tend to bond through complaining. I don’t want to bond with people tat way- to do that to people or to have people dump their negativity on me. It feels as though in not complaining there has been so much space for positivity opening up in my life and recently it has all been looking and soundeding fantastical…and very baroque.
The highlights of life and learnings recently…
An invitation to the most AMAZING inspiring place I have been to in Italy: Castello Ruspoli where I attended the annual competition of young classical musicians from all around the world.
I dove deep into a 5 hour Baroque immersion as the 6 international finalists delighted our intimate group of writers, musicologists and judges with their mind-blowing talent and professionalism. I particularily enjoyed hearing each of them perform a new and never before performed piece, assembled from archive manuscripts as a composition by musicologist and a previous Ruspoli music prize winner Ana Lombardia Gonzlez. Each gave their own flavour to their own interpretation in premiering the “Tocata Number 3” as well as performing 2 solos and 4 pieces accompanied by my new favourite instrument- the harpsichord.
( the finalists waiting nervously to hear who is the winner below)
After much contemplation and deliberation between the judges, a new Baroque star was announced- 24 year old Amandine Solano a classic beauty in high stilettos and a biker jacket who was accompanied by her mother on the harpsichord. In between performances I took every opportunity to wander through the intriguing centuries old labyrinths of sacred geometries outside of the fortress-like Castello.
I honestly felt as though I were in one long lucid dream with an endless score of Baroque performances or instruments being tuned or pieces being rehearsed endlessly echoing through the vast corridors. I also recalled the days of preparing for exams as a teenager and the reccommendation of our in house “learning expert” who taught us to listen to baroque music as we studied for our exams because apparently Baroque helps people to focus and is particularily useful for people with short attention spans or ADD. It was a great treat to be in a fairytale castle, surrounded by musicians and musicologists – an experience I will cherish greatly. Also of course, the lunches and dinners- the Italian food was “da morire” to die for. And on the final day, classical music appreciators from all over Europe arrived to experience the prize winners performance, which was also recored to be released soon as a cd.
It also thematically and experientially complemented the subject of sound healing that I have been focused on with my own research and documenting of the Sound Healers and Shamans I met in Indonesia. I immediately bonded with a film crew from Brazil Owl Filmes who were there making a documentary about the castle’s musical history and the career-changing annual Ruspoli music prize.
All I can say is that after this intense baroque experience my whole body was buzzing and my heart felt as if it had burst wide open. Castello Ruspoli is a very magical place!
I also learnt that they are creating “Fugga Experience”- beginning with a cycling tour, where guests will stay at the Castello, cycle through the stunning landscapes by day and enjoy delicious food and wine by night. They also very kindly suggested I should consider to host a wellbeing retreat there, which is something I would definitely love to do with them and for you! That is something now in the pipelines for 2015. I think it will be a week of yoga, meditation, creative writing, dance, delicious food and some silence- to walk the labyrinths in silence and see what inspiration arises. Many years ago, Handel lived in the castle as an artist in residence and he composed some of his most well-known works whilst there.
I also discussed getting some recordings of the classical baroque instruments to have a play with some electronic-baroque remixes…so I have some interesting sonic experiments ahead of me too.
Before heading up to Vignanello I had been listening to music along these lines by Benjamin Skepper and Gabriel Prokofiev– so perhaps I had actually put the law of attraction into action by manifesting my Baroque immersion experience at Vignanello!
Upon returning to the hustle and bustle of city life, I was invited to attend the opening of an exciting classical-contemporary fusion exhibition by British Art Star Mat Collishaw in the Galleria Borghese Rome.
The main work presented was a very large scale sculpture that also functioned as a zoetrope which would sporadically spring into action with a whir and as it began to spin with lights flickering all the miniature marble sculptures became animated- they literally sprang to life. It was mesmerizing and a true masterpiece. He also presented large elaborate black framed looking-glasses throughout the museum, where after a few moments of gazing at myself surrounded by great masterpieces, a classical renaissance style painting would emerge on the mirror’s surface and slowly begin to move- to come alive. He was literally breathing life into the classical masterpieces and explained that it was all created in response to what he felt and imagined when looking at the classical pieces in the museum. To see his works sandwiched between famous masterpieces by Titian, Caravaggio and Bernini amongst others seemed to make an official public statement that his works are recognised as great contemporary masterpieces in their own right and in my opinion they are works that will stand the test of time and live on in the future as classical works of our time.
Here’s a great little film about the new exhibition: Mat Collishaw : Vogue
I am truly blown away by witnessing all this classicism-futurism fusion in art and music and in my life at the moment too as I skip through the streets in vintage dresses and a recycled red leather biker jacket.
It seems that most Italians prefer new designer brand name clothing, which means there are a lot of great designer vintage wardrobe treasures to find in Italy. I have always found great pleasure in having an eagle eye and being able to spot jems amongst masses of vintage rails. It’s also perhaps a conscious style- to source second hand and vintage shops and recycle for individual chicness. Rome has some great vintage shops full of old Gucci, Missoni, Valentino, Moschino as well as many small “artigenale” shops where the designers can be seen inside working away on their sewing machines and are also very happy to customize their creations to your colour preference and tailor to your size.
I am loving everything about life here and now.
I am bursting with gratitude and wonder.
Definitely no complaints. Baroque n rollin’!