Gospodi - The Light of Christ(CD of the Year, 1998)
There are not many new CDs that I get really excited about, and not many pieces of music that have this certain vibration that goes right down into our innermost soul.
Gospodi is such a CD. In my view it is a genuine masterpiece. The title piece itself, "Gospodi", transports the listener into a spiritual trance, into a state of meditation.
I was so impressed that I asked Felix for permission to publish the following text. I wish him and his music the success that it deserves:
"With this music, I have drawn my own, totally personal picture of Jesus Christ. I have been asked many times over a period of years whether I would like to make a CD of Christian music, but every time I was asked this question I always noticed that I was not yet ready to start writing my own Christian music. I certainly did not want to portray the Jesus Christ of my childhood, the Jesus that the Church had tried to make me believe in. There were too many unanswered questions and discrepancies which even as a child I failed to understand. I knew, deep down inside me, that there was another Jesus Christ, and I first want to find this one.
During the course of my extensive studies particularly of oriental traditions and many apocryphal Christian writings, and during my travels, Christ encountered me again in an unexpected way, and this picture of the universal Master took on clearer and clearer outlines.
Many of my questions were answered and many obvious mistakes handed down in our tradition were corrected. I rediscovered Jesus' so-called "lost years", and saw his life and works in a completely new context. There I encountered Christ, the Essenite and Aramaean, the Indian and the Tibetan Jesus, called Isa, who is deeply rooted and taught in the teaching and practices of Vedanta and Buddhism.
It was not until my own mystic way led me closer to the essence of these teachings that I was able to recognise the cosmic Christ more clearly, beyond the limits of any religion or dogma. Like all great, universal teachers of mankind, and ultimately like all of us, he is the personification of the essence of all ways that we describe as light, love, or godly energy.
I have now tried to put this oriental-mystic Christ and our essential Christ as the One and Only into music, and to create this powerful energy musically. A major aspect of my work is explaining the unity of the aims of religion and the existence of the One God. In my view, music is far superior to the words of theologians. The Indian saint, Sri Yukteswar, says on this point: "... the lack of unity existing between the individual religions, and mankind's ignorance, make it almost impossible to lift the veil and to look this great truth in the eye... Only a few, particularly blessed people can raise themselves above the influence of their environment and recognise the complete concord between the truths announced by all the major religions."
Even as a child, I felt myself closest to the mystical source in Gregorian music. During the course of my long travels I found a spiritual treasure in Russia, with its wonderful orthodox singing and the constant repetition of the most heartfelt prayer Gospodi pomilui - "Lord, have mercy". It was here that I could most intensively feel the oriental roots of Christianity, and that is why my musical journey starts here.
As is always the case with my music, the Name of God, the holy and healing mantra, stands at the centre. For the compositions on this CD I have chosen the central mantras of Christian liturgy: the focal prayer "Lord, have mercy upon me - Christ have mercy upon me", which is Gospodi pomilui in Russian or Kyrie eleyson - Christe eleyson in Greek, and the Hebrew mantra Hallelujah. The pieces are deliberately long, in order to create the space necessary for achieving depth through the repetition of the mantras and for building up the godly energy.
In the first piece, "Gospodi", I have set off on a journey from India through to Caucasus to Russia. Thus the piece starts with calm, floating Indian singing and sarangi-playing, the so-called Alap of the Indian Raga. Bringing the choir in creates the ceremonial atmosphere of our cathedrals. Then comes the mystical-monotonous sound of the Sufi drum, and leads us with its pulsating throb into the spiritual centre of our existence, the true Temple of God.
The Hallelujah then leads us further westwards, and brings us into contact with the oldest spiritual inheritance of our western world, Celtic culture. The basis of this piece is formed by a melody which originates from the Russian Orthodox eastern liturgy. The lightness of the flute and the dulcimer brings in the joy and liveliness of the Bretonic bards which was later suppressed by the darkness and heaviness of the early Christian Middle Ages. Even if we are not aware of the fact, our Christian liturgy has been heavily influenced by the mystic wealth of images and song of the druids and the bards.
In the "Kyrie" I have reverted once again to this profound prayer, taking it this time from Catholic-Gregorian liturgy. Because of the total absence of musical emotions and of metre, I consider that this piece expresses the transcendental state of unity, the overcoming of duality that the perfect Christ expressed in the words "I and my FatherMother are One". These words describe the coalescence of the individual soul with God, the ultimate aim of all religions, the Nirvikalpa-samadhi of Vedantists, the nirvana of the Buddhists, and the Tao of the Taoists. However, we need to be aware that this is the destiny of all of us, not just of Christ. To begin with, Jesus was merely a messenger from God, but then he became the Son of God and finally he was at one with God. This is the road that he has shown us, and that each of us can take.
It is these three steps in consciousness, which one can find in all spiritual traditions, that I have tried to describe in the three compositions in this CD.
The Parsees do this with the following words, which I have selected for the titles:
"I am in the Light - the Light is in me - I am the Light."
It is my hope that you will feel Christ helping you on your way through this music. May all beings in all worlds by blessed. - Lokah samasta sukino bavantu.
I would like to offer my deepest thanks to the One God, for setting His holy name inextinguishably in my heart, and to all the spiritual teachers who have made me aware of this and encouraged me to sing."
Felix Maria Woschek, Mariam Sura/Mandala, 1/98