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The Haunted Heaven: Chapter Two: The Children of War

By Michael Moriarty
web posted June 6, 2011

Divorce, unless overseen by the Holy Spirit, is war. The Holy Spirit wasn't to enter my life until I entered a Jesuit high school. Until then, my sister and I were the children of war.

Now, as I ponder the Jihadists' terrorism and Islam's apparent aim to "dominate the world". I realize how imminent a world conflict is. Yes, a world war, making billions of human beings the children of war. There is a certain safety and comfort in numbers when you've lived your childhood in the secrets of war by divorce.

Then again, with the present day weapons of mass destruction awaiting their starring entrance upon the world stage of a suicidal world, and a war that appears to be inevitable because of a very temporary but deadly alliance between the Communists and Islam, one wonders if our Far Left and Islamic leaning President Obama is willing to defend any part of Judeo-Christianity at all.


After those "reparations" are fully paid by America, will there be a Judeo-Christian Civilization left?

Meanwhile memories of my first five years continue to crowd out much of the following 65.

The intimidating image of my rather large and imposing father is the one consistent character within most of this coming drama.

My Mother?

The woman from whom I ran?

The one who called me a "Judas" for having escaped at the age of 11 from her raving, suicidal alcoholism?

That is a few years away. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves.

Sergei RachmaninovRachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto was the most consistent musical memory from those first five years. Of course, there were Beethoven and Mendelssohn but nothing enraptured me like Rachmaninoff. The rich harmonies and unrelenting melancholy had somehow locked my soul into their magic webs. Though I, in photographs of those first five years, look utterly and preciously the spoiled brat of the family, smiling with a radiance that could get me horse-whipped by Envy itself, it was Rachmaninoff that seemed to prophesy all the coming nightmares of my life.

I'm listening now to his Second Piano Concerto, first movement … and … well … tears of bliss come to my eyes … memories of being on all fours looking up at my father shaving and conducting, conducting and shaving in the mirror while his own dreams of another life, another career as a musician or music critic – which he was to the bottom of his soul – and instead?

He became a doctor to please his mother.

Whereas I became an actor playing a wildly heralded homosexual on Broadway possibly out of revenge upon my father.

Meanwhile I'm watching Valentina Lititsa do her best to command a concerto that, I venture, can best be owned by men like Rachmaninoff himself, the Russian giant with the massive hands, or my favorite Rachmaninoff interpreter, Lazar Berman.

Until … of course … I suddenly run across this clip of the Third Piano Concerto's last movement, performed by the breathtakingly gifted Olga Kern.

Her performance of the first movements can be found here, here and here.

Odd how writing about my childhood I come across a divinely demonic angel named Olga Kern clearly sent from heaven to bring fresh life, a fresh view but an interpretation so melting into my own instincts about Rachmaninoff … that … well … and to discover it amidst the writing of a chapter about my first, baby's ear exposure to all of music!


What a Virgil, Sergei Rachmaninoff, to lead me into the Haunted Heavens of Life!

Then to be reintroduced to the Russian giant by a divinely gifted genius named Olga Kern!!

She is now ripping into the last movement with all the simultaneous speed, strength and sensitivity she can summon up with the same oceanic brilliance she has mustered throughout this virtual monster of a piano concerto.

Russian composers and Russian musicians will play a monumentally large role in my life as the years pass. The first of course was the vibrantly impassioned Russian genie, Sergei Rachmaninoff.

He and his Haunted Heaven entered my life before I could even talk.

To this day Rachmaninoff's protean lyricism seems unsurpassed by anyone.

He and his music became a virtual umbilical cord to my infancy's ecstasy.

His melodies are only the beginning of his abandon to whatever muse God chose to both plague and adore him with.

Oceanic is the only adjective that seems sufficient.

The Sea.

Oceans of Rachmaninoff's soul rolling over us in the audience.

Those sounds always accompanied the climaxes of bliss within my infant's mistaken belief that my birth was actually a death and … well … I had gone to heaven somewhere on earth.

Olga Kern's Rachmaninoff Third throws me, hurls me into unrelentingly spiritual infinity.

Needless to say, she and her version of the Third Piano Concerto was one of God's greatest gifts to me.

Kern's Rachmaninoff has rounded the circle for me, closed the searching progress of my soul and brought me back to the bliss of a 70 year-old infant in not swaddling but my cane-assisted, waddling clothes. ESR

Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at rainbowfamily2008@yahoo.com.



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