“Mysticism, magic and alchemy all come into play in the creative process. For centuries musicians have tapped into things spiritual, embracing ritual, spell, incantation and prayer deeply into their life and work. Although the connection of music to mysticism has been consistent, well documented and productive, it is still shrouded in mystery and largely misunderstood. For this special edition, Arcana focuses on the nexus of mysticism and spirituality in the magical act of making music. Far from an historical overview or cold musicologist’s study, these essays illuminate a fascinating and elusive subject via the the eloquent voices of today’s most distinguished modern practitioners and greatest occult thinkers, providing insights into the esoteric traditions and mysteries involved in the composition and performance of the most mystical of all arts.
Dary John Mizelle
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
David Chaim Smith
Peter Lamborn Wilson
Z’ev” — back cover
The churchyard entertainment scene excerpted from Book of Days, a film directed by Meredith Monk, for which the Book of Days soundtrack is also available, and the DVD can be acquired from Meredith Monk directly. A photo from this film appeared earlier over on the library’s tumblog.
“Book of Days opens, in color, with 20th-century workmen blasting a brick wall, leaving a hole that opens into a black-and-white small town in the Middle Ages. Men, women and children glide about their daily tasks, stopping to answer sometimes tellingly anachronistic questions from 20th-century interviewers…
“The medieval Christians are dressed in white; the Jews are in black robes, each marked with a yellow circle. Both are stricken by the plague, for which the Jews are blamed. A Jewish girl has visionary dreams that prompt her to draw crude objects identifiable as a car, an airplane, a gun. At the end of Book of Days the workmen enter the town and come across the drawings traced into a wall.
But there is no belaboring of those visions — or of the stylized plague. Book of Days is a very beautiful visual play of surfaces and textures, from brick to rough-plastered wall and from the luminous innocence that lights the girl’s face to the canny innocence illuminating the face of the crone, played by Ms. Monk, who teaches her to embrace her visions.
Filmed in Cordes, France, Book of Days was exquisitely photographed by Jerry Pantzer. It is knowingly acted by a cast that includes Toby Newman as the girl, Lucas Hoving as the old physician, Greger Hansen as a young monk and Wayne Hankin as the traveling storyteller. The screenplay was written by Ms. Monk and Tone Blevins.” — Review by Jennifer Dunning for New York Times, January 22, 1990.
Directed by Meredith Monk. Director of Photography Jerry Pantzer; Art Direction and Costume Design by Yoshio Yabara; Music by Meredith Monk; Edited by Girish Bhargava. Book of Days is a production of Tatge/Lasseur Productions, Inc., The House Foundation for the Arts, Inc., La Sept, in Association with Alive From Off Center.” [via]