An Ecstatic Loneliness: Chapter Two
By Michael Moriarty
The name itself still gives me faith. Or rather renews my faith.
It reignites my joy in life the same way music does: Life itself as Evergrowth!
Had to leave Evergrowth.
That home I built in the middle of New York State, right along the Connecticut border.
It's still there! As am I!!
The dream I had had while I designed and made Evergrowth … well … grow? All that is gone now. Evergrowth is still there … I assume.
The whole house centered around a library I had created for myself. It had a balcony in it with a small set of winding stairs to reach the shelves I'd planned for the reference books.
It's now rather difficult to write about that room … and that house.
Its cost, $800,000, had basically eaten up my entire savings from working on the television series, Law and Order. Had to sell it for half that price.
Then I had to split that sum with my second wife, Anne, in a divorce. That's just the first chapter in a full price I had to pay for bucking City Hall.
If I had to, I'd do it again. Why?
The conditions of the United States since then have not only worsened but reached the ultimate and most profoundly suicidal form of surrender: the election of a "Marxist" President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama.
I'm now listening to Béla Bartók's Concerto For Orchestra.
The best performance is by Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra but it is no longer available on You Tube.
"Third party interests!"
Actually the piece is mostly Boston's, having been commissioned and first performed by, as they say, The Boston and its conductor at the time, Serge Koussevitsky!
The First Movement, mirroring the opening of the Third Movement's bassi statements, sets an ominous and forbidding tone which will later in the Concerto be both laughed at, reprieved, be momentarily victorious … and set the stage for one of the finest, five, brief but powerful acts of drama that music has ever encountered.
Now, in the Second Movement, Bartók's satirical genius begins to flower!
A rhythmic figure, then a theme in woodwinds that is turned over and upside down in hauntingly indelible satire!
Then, after a brilliantly conceived, staccato sarcasm in muted trumpets, an exquisite legato for brass choir!
Then a return to the opening satire.
Such contrasts are … well … the dramatic genius of simplicity.
The Third Movement, beginning again, as in the first movement, with a deep hello from the bassi, but infinitely more mysterious and, with the entrance of a wailing piccolo, more undeniably moving!
Is this boring you?
I certainly hope not.
In this third movement, Bartok eventually begins to share with us a shaking fist at the perversities of Fate. The thought, perhaps, and knowledge that he may not have long to live.
I was actually shaking that same fist during my Ecstatic Loneliness.
Doing so, however, with a bottomless and mysterious, even to me, smile, not on my fact but in my soul.
Are the dancing flutes laughing at Bartok now?!
The Devil Himself makes his occasional appearances … if only as a reminder.
New in the Fourth Movement, there is a decidedly heavier approach to what might be considered another satire.
You might notice the mastery over Bartok within this orchestra, an actual Hungarian ensemble under the baton of David Alexander Rahbee, performing their national hero with all the devotion you would expect!
My own, and now completed Concerto For Orchestra is nowhere near the achievement of Bela Bartok's but my creation would make one helluva film score. It is now inspiring my own screenplay for it: Jimmy Nails.
A screenplay actually inspired and written by a symphonic orchestral piece?!
Back to Bartok: laughing, cackling and … well … burping trombones, chuckling winds, burlesque percussion … then a return to the plaintive opening … then … a painfully sudden reminder of Bartók's grasp of beauty … another brief quote of humor … then that movement's end!
The final movement, performed at a wonderfully brilliant and ripping pace by the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel, with its bold first statement from the brass and then the strings!!!! They leap into a whirling race!!!!
This is The Ultimate Bartok now!
Stay with them!!!!!!!
They carry you in a flurry … racing … racing … to where? … a brief woodwind fugue which dives into the strings and their hunt for renewal … and there it comes … from the winds and brass … resurrection!!!!!!!!
Bartók knows that with every performance of his Concerto For Orchestra he will be resurrected!!!!!!
Will I prove to be as fortunate?
We then, Bartok and I, engage in a dance! Well … not really. This is all in my imagination.
Bartok's strings begin the concluding ecstasy that is unmistakably a vibrantly joyous, invasively comic and ecstatic celebration of just being alive!!!!
Now the race to the end!!!!!
Béla goes, not gently, but euphorically into that much too premature night he's been facing for quite some time!!
At 71, I'm not that far off from it myself. One last pause for mild reverie before the very, very end.
Ominous murmurings in the lower strings, accompanied by the upper strings, woodwinds and brass entering and leaving … the haunted mysteries of Death … then our composing master erupts in one final clear statement of triumph!!!!
Bartók's ultimate victory!!!!!!!!!!
Bravo! Bravo!! Bravo!!!!
God willing, such a victory can be mine as well.
What was this Ecstatic Loneliness?
It was either a leap of greater faith … or the prelude to suicide.
Or, in my case, both.
What drew me back from the brink?
Only God could answer that.
The prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous: "Let go, let God!"
After ten years of an oft broken faith in AA, God arrived. I stopped drinking. After that, my heart failure made me stop smoking.
Meanwhile the Angels of God, my two divine guardians, Mamma and Irene, flew into my life. Italy and Austria had returned to keep me on earth!
My first encounters with those lands were Italy in 1964 and Austria in 1977.
In between those earlier dates and now?
No. I never studied with her.
She walked into my life with her leap of faith in my talent. It culminated with her quote about me in one of the major American magazines, the few words that keep a struggling artist going for a few eternities.
Three women: Mamma, Irene and Stella. I now live with Irene as my wife, Maria Luisa Callas as my Italian mother and Stella as heaven's guardian angel.
I doubt if I could have appreciated them if it weren't for my ten years of Ecstatic Loneliness. During that decade, my only friend was God. I somehow knew He would guide me through the absence of any connection to earth or earthlings. Those years were not the best of times. They were, however, the search for ecstasy. The years of abandon.
I look back at them fondly. Why?
Without them I would not have found my present joy in life.
Unless you end your expectations of the world and society, you can't find God … and without God, you are lost.
Repeatedly painful disappointment before such a goal is not only destined but inevitable.
Yet the rewards of patience and ultimate victory are more than worth it. The "price" you pay makes the triumph even more heavenly!
Till next week.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.