Les Délices Music Meditations combines poetry and music to bring soul-soothing and life-affirming art into your day.
Featuring classic and contemporary poetry by Northeast Ohio writers along with curated performances from Les Délices live-performance archives, each episode concludes with prompts for mindfulness or guided listening.
A Meditation on Satisfaction
This meditation pairs "Whatever I carry" by Shei Sanchez with an old Scottish tune called “Love is the cause of my mourning,” performed by baroque oboe, viola da gamba, and lute. The simple texture and gapped scale of the melody lend the song a feeling of sweet innocence that resonates with the sense of satisfaction in Sanchez's poem.
A Meditation on Anticipation
This meditation features the poem "Right Eye" by Eric Odum, in which the speaker repeatedly explains that his right eye has been tearing up constantly. At once a symbol of release and pent-up emotions, "Right Eye" volleys between different sentiments such that Odum wonders, "how many of these are from pain to come, or an overwhelming joy to live." We pair Odum's poem with Jean-Philippe Rameau's Entree de Polymnie, excerpted from final opera Les Boréades. Performed by a pair of violins accompanied by viola da gamba and harpsichord, this piece feels lush, comforting, and warm, though there’s an undeniable underlying melancholy that echoes the coexisting sentiments in Odum’s poem.
A Meditation on Loss
In this meditation, poet Darlene Montonaro uses water imagery – of pouring rain or a flooded, rushing river – to signal the weightiness of loss, the journey of grief, and ultimate emotional release. We pair Montonaro's poem "Parting" with François Couperin's character piece, Les langueurs tendres, or The Tender languishing. Performed here by baroque oboe and harpsichord, the melody constantly “leans in” to small dissonances designed to make us “feel” something. Some of those dissonances might make you feel a mere twinge of nostalgia or regret; others might contain longing or a weightiness that corresponds to the sentiments of Montonaro’s poem.
A Meditation on Fear
This meditation pairs the poem "How to Escape Madness Under a Full Moon" by Darlene Montonaro with instrumental piece for strings with organ by the French composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier that sparkles while remaining humble. Ultimately, it feels deeply spiritual and it is based on a Latin chant fragment, “Pange Lingua.” As you listen, try to focus on the rise and fall of the lowest voice - doubled by the organ - which spins out the chant. What words might you use to describe how the violins respond or react to the tune in the bass?
A Meditation contrasting the outside world with our inmost feelings
In this meditation, we have paired Eric Odum's poem "In the storm" with Marin Marais' "Tombeau de M. de St. Colombe," an intense and deeply personal work. “Tombeau,” means tomb in French, and the music is a tribute by Marais to his former teacher and mentor M. de St. Colombe. Though the music is extremely intimate - performed by just viola da gamba and harpsichord - the emotions portrayed are almost operatic in their extremes. The music's emotions – from reflection to sadness and even occasional violence – are all echoed in Odum’s poem.
A Meditation on Our Place in the World
This episode features poetry by Northeast Ohio poets Cathy Barber, Marion Boyer, and Shei Sanchez. Each poem offers a different perspective on our place in the world, whether that’s admiring a vast wilderness, considering a view of earth from space, or backyard stargazing - set to the profound music of J.S. Bach.