Tony Bernardi

Notes and MP3 Samples of Light through Letters
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Light through Letters

Notes (and MP3 Samples of Recording – coming soon)


A collection of imaginative and programmatic piano improvisations "Light through Letters" captures the mood of a storyteller. It is as if we open these letters and experience the wisdom of their senders. The mood is set by their story as the character of their senders colors every letter. The subject of all the letters is love and light. The light that shines through these letters is the wisdom of hope and perseverance to the challenges, the adversities, and the true beauty of the life of their senders. They intend to create an intimate connection between the wisdom of people, things, and places and us through emotionally compelling stories and mood setting atmospheres. All the pieces are melodic, moody, and at times very capricious, but they deliver a message to the heart. Also, these pieces politely open the door to reflect the composer Near Eastern influences.


Letters from Lovers

Laced with the aroma of nostalgia the setting is opening old letters from past lovers and loved ones and experiencing their letters once again for the first time. The music is tender but not overly sweet with a balance between melodic and harmonic movement. This piece is intentionally impressionistic and also romantically reminiscent of Satie.


Letters from Childhood

It is playtime! It is summer time! Grandma is singing us a joyful song and suddenly joyful and mischievous children march in a green field nurtured by old trees, a blue sky, and lots of laughter. Now the children sing her simple melody but they do not stick to the words. They sing about the glory of a free childhood, of joyful play, mischief, and pretending. The piece ends with children running out of the scene into a green horizon.


Letters from Christopher Columbus

On the calm waters of uncertainty a discoverer is sailing to an unknown destination. The wind brushes calmly on his face and all he can see is a vast horizon. This introspective piece tells a story of patience and gentle light. The whole experience feels like opening and an old box containing personal objects igniting the imagination with gentle reminders of hope and the light. Christopher Columbus message seems to be that he waited then when all he could do was to calmly wait.


Letters from Busy Bazaars

Bring out the hustle and bustle of a busy and exotic place. It is an exciting Bazaar full of amazing things. Look at this, look at that. Watch out, don’t stumble, you might fall! The story tells of going shopping with mom. It is amazing how many different things are in this world! Stravinsky is holding our hand as we are hopping through the streets of Old Baghdad. We see large pots, sad old shop owners, lots of fragrant flowers, and even a street puppet show. Is that Petrushka? Maybe not. The piece ends with the closing of the curtains in a puppet show.


Letters from Little Prince

What ever happened of the Little Prince? Which star did you say he lived on? We go on a discovery when we find his letters as we loose our way and find ourselves in the desert again where he first appeared to Antoine. We read that he still has his rose and all the rest of his amazing things. His message? "Eternal Youth is in the Joy of Play!" He tells us to stop being so serious, nothing is important enough to keep us sad forever. We hear the rose, the fox, the snake, and the seriously funny conversations of a witty loving and bright eternal inner child. A touch of Poulenc-style French in bright color crayons with sing-able phrases and simple harmonies. Close the book if you get too scared! The snake reappears and so the piece comes to an end with the closing of the book.


Letters from Forest Trees

Trees are our cousins, I once heard. Tall old forest trees are our lovely friends that always point us to the right direction. Have you ever gotten lost in the forest? It is impossible! No one can get lost among old friends. All kinds of trees, old redwoods, oaks, and even pines write to us. Their preoccupation you may ask? Playing with light of course! They are masters of light and shade. That is how they create their magic. All kinds of magic and magical beings like fairies, and imaginary creatures that live under, around and sometimes in them! Our majestic friends tell us they are our protectors, and we thought all along we where protecting them. We can even hear the fox’s procession in that magical day when it both rains and it is sunny. The woodpecker is beating on the door as these giants cradle all kinds of little birds. Everything is nurtured and loved by these beautiful trees. The piece ends with a majestic praise of these old cousins.


Letters from Theater Stages

This is really a dance. Letters can be a dance? You ask. Sure they can. Theater stages see lots of dances some that we never see. Chaotic and sometimes even funny dances. Run, rush, the show is soon to begin, we hear. We find ourselves on a back stage where nervous actors and stage people are putting the illusions of the stage together. The real dancers are practicing, or are they? The actors too! They are all getting into their robes and roles as they are transformed into different characters. Ropes go up and down. Everything is tested. Lights go up and down too. We hear the romantic lines of a hero, the scheming of the villain. Excitement is building up. Is everyone ready? And now in anticipation of the show the curtain falls and the piece comes to a close.


Letters from Michael Angelo

Light shines through the windows of a renaissance workshop. Young Michael Angelo is in an empty warehouse alone. A sculptor’s life is a lonely one he tells us. His companions are large pieces of hard stone and marble. Also, the mighty ghosts of his creations to be. His job is to rescue graceful figures from inside shapeless stones and that he must. We hear his chisel and mallet banging on the hard stone while he comforts his ghostly friends that he has come to their rescue. We hear him being challenged by the great stones and all their dangerous cracks as they threaten to break on all the wrong places. We hear the falling of large and small pieces of stone as his strong arms chisel the stone away. The closer he comes to the beauty of his creations his excitement grows and we hear them come to life. They are truly bigger than life! We see a young tired sculptor but he is never to be defeated. He is no longer lonely. His companions are great indeed. The piece comes slowly to an end with the unveiling of one of his greatest works, David! And now he can rest at last. Not so yet says the Pope, I have a whole chapel for you to paint.


Letters from Escher

Puzzles, puzzles Black birds fly in the page as white one fly out. Is the stairs going up or down? Illusions! Escher loves to show us illusions. He tells us not to trust our eyes. This is a world of smoke and mirrors. You can be sure of nothing, he says. There is no Time; even Time is an illusion. We hear the clock slowing down and speeding up, and disappear in oblivion. We hear the transformation of lines and spaces in the shades of shapes constantly becoming something else. Ideas crawl in and out of our consciousness in shapes indistinguishable from their shadows. Are these coming birds or leaving turtles? Everything is in shadows and all we can see is our changing reflection that seems both hard and soft. We cant help chase illusions trying to point out the moment of transformation from one shape to another. Illusions are slippery. Escher is the magician that with one hand draws himself and appears to us on the page as with his other hand erases his image and at the same time disappears.


Letters from Rumi

In the empty streets of an Old Persian town, an old and heart broken poet is drinking his sorrows to oblivion and talking to the moon. He tells the moon how he misses the one that truly loved him. The moon shines and illumines the turquoise dome of a mosque and a nightingale appears. Flying down from the top of the dome the nightingale sits on Rumi’s hand and tells him it has news from his beloved. Look inside your cup of wine, says the bird. There is your beloved Shams. You have been drinking him unaware, as you have been sobbing his absence. He has been communing with your heart all along where he lives forever! You and him are One.


Letters from Prometheus

Fire flames illumine the walls of a cave in the bowels of the earth. Fire is both my companion and my jailer proclaims Prometheus. Fire is really a friend. A fierce friend that both protects and destroys. All that needs to go and be reshaped the fire takes charge. Prometheus is the master of fire, but also bound to it. When the fire goes to sleep in the glowing coal, he can rest too. But not for long. The fire often dreams of water and sadly wakes up again to the smiles of Prometheus who rekindles it again to flames. Fire has no sense of humor you see. The only fear fire has is of cooling waters. That is why it hides deep inside the earth protected by its father Prometheus!


Letters from Wind Chimes

Singing is the only preoccupation of the wind chimes. Wind is their airy friend. Wind plays with the chimes and the chimes gratefully sound their random music. Their challenge is never to repeat a song. For if they do the birds might recognize and make a nest in them. That will stop them from ever singing again. The chimes are always sadly hollow, you see. That is how they can play with the wind. The wind takes their sadness and fills them with a new joyful song every time it passes through.


Letters from Mermaids

Water drops drop from mermaids. Drip, drip we hear. It is a myth that mermaids love the water. Although they are used to it they prefer to be out of the wet stuff. That is why we see them often sunbathing on remote rock islands dripping all over the place. Swimming is fun although they often pretend to fly. Swimming can be like flying, but it is wet. Have you ever wondered if mermaids ever need to take a shower? That is not a trick question, really. Can’t you hear how slippery they are? Or can you ever tell when a mermaid is crying? Drip, drip. That is why you should never make a mermaid sad. Mermaids often dream about living on mountaintops. They often pretend not to be mermaids at all. Drip, drip.


Letters from Sighing Springs

Spring is a sighing time, and springs know that best. You see, only in springtime springs flow with a sigh, sadly missing the winter ice when they lazily could sleep and rest. They sigh as they sadly sing their spring sighing song calling all the birds and bees to come and drink from them. But they are not happy, oh no. Springs do not like to work, you see. But flow they must since it is springtime and all the ice is no more.


Letters from Homesick Sparrows

When do the sparrows come home again? Here they are knocking at the window. But it is still cold and windy out there. Are they early this year? They must be homesick. One must always open the window of his heart and let the early homesick sparrows in. They will freeze otherwise. We light a fire and sit around the hearth of our heart and let the early sparrows tell us stories from foreign lands. They say cold friendly places are warmer than warm unfriendly lands. But look it is warmer now. I guess the sparrows brought back the spring!


Letters from Lonely Shepherds

Under a shaded tree surrounded by many grazing sheep a shepherd deeply in love with another plays his hollow reed. It is an old song, but the birds have never heard it like this before. It is full of sadness and tears. Shepherds are not supposed to be lonely they say, only when they fall in love. As he plays his reed birds gather and sing with him. They tell him not to daydream for they have seen the wolf and he is not far. But he tells them that his beloved is the owner of the wolf!


Letters from Old Age

There is nothing older than our grandfather clock. It has an ominous chime especially on the midnight strike. That is when all the old ghosts of the house and from the far past come out and waltz in our living room. That is why we have to be in bed before then! Who wants to dance with a bunch of old ghosts anyway? I can never bear to hear the last strike at midnight. Stay away I say! And when I wake up in the morning I thank God it is 7 AM again!


Letters from Winding Rivers

Rivers carry the dead with them, which is why they have to wind and turn so many times. At every turn they meet new souls and take them for a ride. I wonder where they take all these souls. Only if we knew where the rivers flowed we could go and get all the souls back. I have heard some rivers flow to china. But I imagine they must flow further than that. I know that rivers take with them our sadness and our sorrow so it is fortunate that they go far beyond our reach. Winding rivers are mysterious as one can hear the echo of all the departed souls late at night. It is as if the echo invites us to throw all our sadness in the river, reassuring us that we will be filled with the joy of the Sun and the Wind by morning time.



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Updated on May 21, 2002