The Symphony

Originally recorded 2005-2006; digitally remixed and remastered 2020.

In this section, our journeyman through life starts to examine his purpose for existing.

Can it be that life is a simple thing
Are we all just here for the love we bring
Search my soul and it’s calling to me

Can this life be all that I have today
Could there not yet be but another way
Search for truth and it calls unto me

So it seems that there are a hundred paths
Never know if I’ll find some peace at last
Heed the voice as it beckons to me

Seeking only now to lay down my past
Will I find that I can now rest at last
Carry on as it sings unto me

The lyrics in this section capture a lot of what the 60’s were about – a recognition that something is wrong, incomplete or at the very least unsatisfying, coupled with a fearlessness to go somewhere else.  With a partner.  Get off the planet somehow.  Two of the groups that were significant influences on me were King Crimson and Cream.  The favorite devices of Peter Sinfield and Pete Brown (the sometimes lyricists for those two groups), in servicing psychedelia and the “experimentation generation” were to invoke images and feelings independent of any literal meaning.  Not novel by any means, but some of the images were pretty trippy!  (See “Pressed Rat and Wart Hog” – a Zap Comix of a song if there ever was one.)  Len Czajka, February 2006

Woe is me
Falling Sea
Can’t seem to find a direction

Singing Sea
Sing to me
Sing me a song of Joy
Sing a Song

You sing a song I sing along we sing the song together
Our hearts beat time our feelings rhyme we play in time together
If I were just the moonbeams dust we’d sail the stars forever

The ground doesn’t matter
Do you want to go now?
What you want to do
The ground doesn’t matter
What matters is you

Are you drowning in freedom of movement that we left behind?
Are you bearing the children of moments that were in you mind?
Are you thinking of things that we spoke of when we were still blind?
Are you mourning the passage of small things that cut you in king?

Our seeking soul now starts to believe that the purpose of being relates to the existence of the deep feelings that he shares with his loved one.  But could this truly be the meaning of life?

It’s the love that I give to you
All my life, my heart, and spirit resides
Time that I spend with you day and night
Precious time

It’s the love you return to me
All the time, your eyes that meet with mine
Helping me to define all my life
Precious one

For the love is my life
Oh my life
Yes my love
Oh my love

Our intrepid traveler steps back from his quest and reflects upon the folly of living day – to – day as if there were an endless supply of new downs ahead. 

See me in the dawn’s early light
Running like a thief in the night
Never looking backwards as the road winds it’s way

Onwards as I slip down the day
Not a care while I slowly decay
Every pitching headlong into what waits for me

That special place halfway between wakefulness and sleep – where the human mind enters another dimension – detached from the logic of the real world during wakefulness yet not yet attached to the deep dreams of slumber.  Our traveler starts to explore how the concept of death fits in with life.  Death is clearly part of life – we are born, we live, we die – but then what?  Is death an end, a beginning, a continuance, or some other form of existence?  How does the overwhelming déjà vu experience which we all have from time to time fit here?  The seeker is now questioning his very existence as being either real, contrived or false, and how it fits into the puzzle.  

Fall asleep at night
Think I’ve been here twice
Spirits taking flight

It’s a fantasy that I see
When I’m asleep at night

No more fear for I
Feel the end draw nigh
Silence moves my eyes

As I’m drawn to it
In my dreams
When I escape this life
For I don’t fear to die tonight

HYMN    32:59
For many of us it’s important to cling to the belief that our lives and those of others have some sort of meaning and purpose in the grand scheme of things.  Some choose conventional organized religion, some eastern religion and philosophy, but some also choose other paths based on the theory of Existentialism – that of creating ones’ own purpose and reason for existing – which becomes the basis on which to live.  In this last section known as the HYMN, our journeyman sings of the joys discovered in this simple philosophy. 

Search for purpose now we sing
Peace and joy and life to bring
No more sorrow heal the pain
Love and truth is what you’ll gain

Though our hearts are filled with fear
Find our paths are never clear
Seek the meaning yet to be
Open wide our eyes to see

Join us in this happy song
Celebrate the new day dawn
Ever-lasting ever-be
Take this love and walk with me

Although recorded in 2005 - 2006, this album represents a significant period of time in my past. In 1973/74, I composed (along with other members of my then rock band in Milwaukee, WI) a rather ambitious work consisting of multiple movements, all connected by various key signature and timing changes. I was inspired (and "enlightened") by the groundbreaking Jethro Tull concept album "Thick As A Brick", where the fast moving complex musical sections wound along creating a framework for the esoteric lyrics. Since I had just only written a sufficiently contemporary tune entitled "Bizarre" (which appeared on the "Getting A Round Tuit" CD), I was so immersed in the idiom of the intricate nature of that type of composition that it seemed only natural to undertake such a challenge.

After composing dozens of short musical fragments - in effect unrelated assortments of various melodies in different keys and unusual time signatures - I set about connecting them all somehow. My band (at the time) became quite interested in contributing to the work and added several sections, which helped the project grow in different ways. Our drummer captured the focus of the piece and entitled it THE SYMPHONY after weaving a story line around his studies in philosophy. Since he was quite influenced by the philosophy of Existentialism (see the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, among others) it became the story of seeking the meaning of life. The central figure of the piece explores many different aspects of that timeless question "Why are we here?" He ultimately comes to realize that the journey to find the purpose of existence - and indeed, creating your own reality and purpose - becomes the reason for existence itself! Discovering that simple truth then liberates one's anxiety and turmoil, and creates an everlasting peace.

In early 2005, I realized that I had some recordings of my old band as we performed this epic adventure. In addition, I discovered that I still had the sheet music for the entire piece, complete with cues and footnotes! The most encouraging thing was that, after listening to it front to back only one time, I actually remembered how to play the entire piece. All the intricacies of the sections became real to me once again! Around the same time, I had just been reunited with the same bass guitarist from my old band when we discovered that we had been practically neighbors all these missing years. We determined that this work was too good not to see it through to its' fruition. And so we set about to keep it from becoming the UN-finished Symphony. In due course I found our original keyboardist who had moved to California 30 years ago and not only was he still playing, he was eager to join this project.

When our original 1970's band was composing and rehearsing the sections, we worked together so well that the piece came together rapidly. Back then, I Had only just learned to play the flute (as a tribute to Ian Anderson's radical approach to R & R instrumentation), yet I struggled with the highly technical and complex nature of the sections I wrote for it. Now, some 30+ years later, I am fortunate to work with musicians who can execute those difficult passages as perfectly as I first imagined them when composing. In a modern recording studio, it's possible to have the entire range of instruments unlike the limited nature of the 4-piece band of my past.

During the process of RE-recording this monumental and intimidating project, there were several occasions where I seriously questioned my ability to see it through. Fortunately the caliber of the other very talented musicians performing here provided the impetus and inspiration I needed to carry on. I am especially grateful to Bob Sevart of Cougar Mountain Studios who, along with his expertise as an audio engineer and producer, he took on the daunting task of performing the drum set and percussion tracks for the entire project. Bob also saw to it that the finite details of the arrangement were executed properly, no small task in itself! Bob motivated me to keep going even when strain of the complexity of the work began to wear me down.

Just as a classical symphony is a musical work consisting of many different instrumental voices, tones and timbres all working smoothly together in harmony, so too are our lives all intertwined as if in one great Symphony of existence. It is up to each of us to determine if we resonate in harmony or dissonance with each other. ~ Rande Reed, February 2006 ~

Existentialism definitions:

The doctrine that existence takes precedence over essence and holding that man is totally free and responsible for his acts. This responsibility is the source of dread and anguish that encompass mankind. - Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition, William Collins Publishers, Inc. Cleveland, OH 1979

A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts. - American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company / Electronic version licensed from INSO Corporation.

"Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself. That is the first principle of existentialism." (Jean-Paul Sartre)

"Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realizes himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is." (Jean-Paul Sartre).

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