Thursday, August 27, 2009

Citius, Altius, Fortius....Clarius!

Recession have you down? Feeling the blues?

I think I might be feeling some of those things. After a wonderful late summer break with the family in Canada, I am back to the grind here at home. Don't get me wrong, I love my job (and thankful beyond words to have it!) - but the daily beat of life and this bummer economy can get to a guy.

As we head back into the busy days of fall, full of activities, and schedules, and just plain lots of things to do - maybe we need a moment of inspiration and clarity. Or maybe, say, five moments.

John Williams is perhaps the most recognized composer of the 20th Century, and has become almost synonymous with the Olympic movement. One of my all time favorite Williams pieces is "Call of the Champions" composed for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

When asked about the ideas behind the composition of this piece, Williams responded:
"In thinking and reading about what we might have sung, I came across this Baron de Coubertin motto: 'Citius, Altius, Fortius' [swifter, higher, stronger]." (Coubertin was the founder of the modern Olympic Games back in the early 1890s.) "I thought it would make a wonderful declamatory handle, just that triad of words sung in a very forceful way by the chorus. We had all 350 members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing this and it was electrifying. It sounds like all the heroes coming down from Olympus and chanting together."

"Always this triad of words, but at the end of the piece I needed to break the rhythm of the text. So I took the liberty of adding the word clarius to the motto ­ a word a Roman might have used to speak of intelligence and clarity of mind."
Swifter. Higher. Stronger. And Clearer. Can we carry these words in our hearts and minds into the mess of everyday life? Can we do our jobs, love our friends, encourage one another, and contribute to our communities and our world in a way that embodies these words?

That is the inspiration I need today. Maybe you do too.

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