"Ohm" Monday Finale: Exploring Time with Music and Yoga

Jun 29, 2015

Today is the last Monday in June and the last Classical 101 "Ohm" Monday of the series. For the occasion, we have once again teamed up with Yoga on High for a special yoga pose sequence complete with music that spans centuries. This "Ohm" Monday is all about time.

The yoga sequence this week comes from a special practice at Yoga on High called Sekoia. The Sekoia practice blends poses with meditation and the use of essential oils. You can download the sequence here. Having been to a Sekoia class just last night, I can say it is quite a lovely experience and also a decent workout; in short, it is a good use of your time. Here is a short summary of the benefits and uses of essential oils from the National Cancer Institute.

To illuminate this multi-faceted practice with music and pay homage to the use of oils and meditation on this rainy Monday, music by Johannes Ockeghem and John Luther Adams has been selected. More than 500 years of composition history spans between the two selections, but both works explore time itself in unique ways.

Johannes Ockeghem (b. 1410/1430- d.1497) is known as the most famous composer of the 15th Century Franco-Flemish School, he was also a legendary singer and choirmaster. It is likely that the composer was born in Belgium and may have even known another famous composer of his time; Binchois. He was also the maestro di capella for the French court for both Charles VII and Louis XI and he served at the Notre Dame de Paris. 

The illuminated "Kyrie" from Ockeghem's 'Missa Ecce ancilla Domini' found in the Chigi codex.
Credit Wikipedia Public Domain

This week's first piece of music is Ockeghem's famous Missa prolationum. The work is a genius maneuver of of mensuration canons aligned in contrapuntal harmony. (It's a grandiose song in the round with variations.) Who better to sing the piece than Capella Nova of 1978, directed by Richard Taruskin. 

John Luther Adams (b. 1953...) is an American composer who has won a Pulitzer Prize and a GRAMMY for the work linked below. This autumn, Adams will also receive the $50,000 prize given with the William Schuman Award from Columbia University for his, "lifetime acheivement (of) an American composer..." Adams has also contributed writings on many subjects dealing with the landscapes and geographies of where people listen and appreciate art. Just as Ockeghem's music displayed the beauty of synchronicity and time, John's Luther Adams' Become Ocean unravels time with sound. 

Special thanks to Yoga on High and their Creative Marketing Director, Katie Whitsett, for their help and collaboration for this project. Remember to listen to WOSU Classical 101 for more music fit for any activity, and download the WOSU mobile app to take music with you on the go and on the yoga mat!