G.Vajda, MR Symphonic, UMZE Ensemble, D.Érsek, R.Rezsnyák, T.Szervét, dèdalo Ensemble, V.Parisi Gergely Vajda: Barbie Blue
The idea of Barbie Blue (credits for the title go to Hungarian writer, poet László Garaczi) was conceived for the 125th anniversary of Béla Bartók’s birth. It was written as a preceeding ‘comic version’ to its inspiration, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. It is composed for the same voices and for similar size orchestra as Bartók’s only opera. At crucial structural points and at the level of fundamental musical processes, the opera continuously makes references, albeit concealed, to its ‘dramatic pair’.
Dóra Érsek - soprano (1-9)
Róbert Rezsnyák - baritone (1-9)
Tibor Szervét - narrator (10-14)
dèdalo Ensemble (15)
conducted by Vittorio Parisi
About the album
Libretto of Barbie Blue: András Almási-Tóth
Text of Gulliver In Faremido was written after Frigyes Karinthy by David Hill and Gergely Vajda
Recorded at Studio 6 of the Hungarian Radio, 2009 (1-9);
French Institute and Auditorium at University of Pécs, 2010 (10-14);
Auditorium San Barnaba, Brescia, Italy, at the "... A Camillo Togni" International Composition Competition, 2008 (15)
Recording Producers: Gusztáv Bárány (1-9), Tibor Alpár (10-14) and Stefano Barzan at Studio Barzan (15)
Sound Engineers: Miklós Lukács (1-9), Béla Kuklis (10-14), Massimo Mariani and Sebastian Castro (15)
Mastered by Péter Erdélyi
Artwork & design > Bachman
Produced by László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár
In association with MTVA (Media Support and Asset Management Fund). Supported by the National Cultural Fund Of Hungary and Presscon Publishing Ltd.
Gergely Vajda: Barbie Blue – Opera in One Act
Gergely Vajda: Gulliver in Faremido
The album is available in digital form at our retail partners
Opera in One Act
The idea of Barbie Blue (credits for the title go to Hungarian writer, poet László Garaczi) was conceived for the 125th anniversary of Béla Bartók’s birth. It was written as a preceeding ‘comic version’ to its inspiration, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. It is composed for the same voices and for similar size orchestra as Bartók’s only opera. At crucial structural points and at the level of fundamental musical processes, the opera continuously makes references, albeit concealed, to its ‘dramatic pair’. The libretto was written by András Almási-Tóth, inspired by Anatole France’s short story Les Sept Femmes de la Barbe-Bleue, and Béla Balázs’s libretto for Bluebeard’s Castle. The characters in this tragicomic musical satire are Barbie and her husband Bernard, and three almost naked ‘Chippendale’ male dancers. The latter ones are silent roles.
Barbie, the woman is the central character of the opera. She is the one who drives the dramatic action. She prompts the man to react continuously. Barbie is the initiator and her behavior and musical style change from scene to scene, from ‘woman to woman’. The seven doors of Balázs-Bartók here have their equivalent in the Barbie’s seven modes of existence. (See also Péter Esterházy’s novel She Loves Me, or Wedekind’s Lulu.) While the dramaturgy of Bartók’s opera follows the arc: dark–light–dark, Barbie Blue goes almost the reverse way: light–dark–...light(?).
A marriage has come to a turning point. By the end of the night everything will be decided and the story is taking a new turn. Or is it? Both of them thought they knew everything about their spouse. Bernard now realizes that in a relationship it is not possible to completely know the other one. With every passing minute newer and newer faces, secrets, impulses, and passions surface. In spite of all the suffering, or perhaps precisely because of it, these two people are joined together forever. A classical farce situation (in flagrante) becomes a psychological drama, but at the same time the basic ironic-mocking tone remains throughout. By the end of the piece – together with Barbie – we have almost forgotten the basic situation. After what these two have been through, it no longer matters what is in the closet. The story is like a Bergman film, or like Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? . It is two people’s cruel, yet somehow ridiculous ‘vicious love story’. Can’t live with you, can’t live without you.
GULLIVER IN FAREMIDO
“As if someone pounded on the door of our soul from outside, from the world of Beauty and Reality; but we no longer understand the voice. It is this language they speak in Faremido. Gulliver, the wanderer, believed for a moment that he almost understood it.” – writes Frigyes Karinthy (1887-1938) humorist, poet, playwright, one of the most original, versatile and popular Hungarian writers of his era. In his short story Voyage to Faremido (1917) he presents a vision of a planet ruled by machines, the solatis whose language is music. Through the eyes of these inorganic and immortal supreme beings humans are only unimportant and irritating, parasitic germs. Man's ideals and beliefs are ridiculously short lived and insignificant.
Karinthy’s story, I believe is just the perfect topic for a composition mixing music and spoken words. American poet David Hill (who spent years living and working in Hungary writing – among other things – song lyrics for the pop group ‘Little Cow’) and I decided to make Gulliver our contemporary and rewrite the story in everyday American English. This composition was commissioned and first performed in 2010 by the Third Angle New Music Ensemble in Portland, OR.
There are two woodwind instruments in Gulliver in Faremido. The alto flute, shadowed by the clarinet represents the familiar character of Swift's traveller and his attitude towards the world. (He is one pretentious guy.) When we first hear one of the solatis speak the clarinetist switches to a so called “woodwind synthesizer”. By using this special MIDI interface I wanted to create a special, otherworldly sound color to represent the singing robots. By adding metallic percussion instruments (vibraphone and tubular bells) to the mix I was able to achieve a constant “vibe” throughout the piece. This “vibe” is somehow mesmerizing but kind of cold sounding to us, humans. Just like solatis themselves. Violin, cello and piano make the chamber group complete and give variety to the soundscape. At certain points of the story the narrator is required to sing. He is afterall talking to the robots or trying to translate what they are saying.
Does the story have a happy ending? No, it does not. Yet it is told without bitterness and pessimism and with a lot of sarcasm. My hope as a composer is that even for just a few minutes I can help you understand the most perfect way of communication there is: the language of Faremido.
CONVERSATIONS WITH CHILDREN
This five-player, nine-minute long composition was inspired by a short book called Conversations with Adam and Natasha (New York: Pantheon, 1977). The book was written by renowned Scottish psychologist Ronald David Laing (1927–1989). I chose the following five snatches of conversations of Laing and his son, Adam and daughter, Natasha as the base of my composition.
Natasha: Daddy, I’ve played the piano all the way down
She had started at what we call the bottom left and played her way to the top right
Me: don’t do that
Adam: I will if you don’t let me
3. In a dispute over a toy
Natasha: he gave it to me
Adam: he gave it to you and I give it to me
Natasha: No one can see God but He can see us and
He can see Himself
He could be in this house
He could be outside the door
He could knock on the door
But He would have to knock very hard for us to hear Him, wouldn’t he?
Natasha: No we don’t hear the God-knocks
5. Listening to the clavichord
Natasha: That’s beautiful. That’s very difficult, I can easily do very difficult things by practicing
I have tried with my music to convey the playfulness of ‘kids’ talk’, the way of thinking that is far from innocent yet not yet spoilt by expectations, the philosophical depth, which my sons Balázs and Vince also had at age three to six. The five movements of the piece are played without a break. Conversations with Children received special mention of the jury at the “…a Camillo Togni” international composition competition in Brescia, Italy.
Gregory Vajda, Music Director of the Huntsville Symphony, Principal Conductor of the Hungarian Public Service Media MR Symphonic, formerly Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of Music in the Mountains Festival in CA, composer, clarinetist.
He appeared as a guest conductor at the Salzburg Festspiele, the Green Umbrella Festival (Los Angeles), the Round Top Music Festival (Texas), at Mostly Mozart Festival and the Naumburg Concert Series (NYC), at the Grant Park Festival in Chicago, at Le Lanaudiére (Quebec), and at Centre Achantes (France), Ars Musica in Brussels, the Zagreb Biennale, Young Artists in Concert in Davos, the International Bartok Festival and the Budapest Spring and Autumn Festivals.
Mr. Vajda conducted the Vienna and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Opera de Montreal and the Montreal Symphony, the Atlanta Opera, the Hungarian State Opera, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Klangforum Wien, the Seattle-, Edmonton-, Louisville-, Santa Barbara Symphony, the Lousiana- and Calgary Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra among others.
His compositions were performed at the Davos Festival, at „Ciné muet en concert” (Musée du Louvre, Paris), at Centre Achantes, the Budapest Autumn- and Making New Waves Festivals, at concerts of the Hungarian Radio and Television and among other places in London, Berlin, Freiburg, Saarbrücken, Marseille, Utrecht, Davos, Milwaukee, Huntsville and Portland, OR.
Mr. Vajda has won ‘special mention of the jury’ at the 2008 “…a Camillo Togni” composition competition, The Gundel Art Award in 2001, and the composer’s award of the 1997 Budapest Autumn Festival. He received a special award for performers of the Society Artisjus, Hungarian Bureau for the protection of Authors’ Rights in 1995.
Opera in One Act
SCENE 1 BERNARD (off stage)
Here I am now!
BARBIE (to herself)
It's my husband!
What’s happening here!
Another week, he told me...
BERNARD (off stage)
BARBIE (pushing the three half-naked Chippenddales)
Get into the closet! (aloud)
I’ll be right there, Bernie Honey!
Barbie! I had a free evening,
‘Been sitting in my hotel room,
had a thought: I will surprise you,
I promised it so many times,
you see, Barbie, I am home now!
You’re full of surprises, Darling.
You are tired, …when will you leave?
No, not tired! Just the usual stop-and-go
on the freeway…
BARBIE (to herself)
The closet-door's half way open!
Good to see you!
Got to go back in the morning,
it’s gonna be a ‘one-night stand’–
Here is your mail, couple of bills,
your Mother called –
No kiss for me? -
I've make-up on. You look awful,
I told you not to wear this shirt
with the striped suit –
When will you leave?
BERNARD (looks at a car magazine)
I was thinking about this car...
I could not call you yesterday.
You're telling me! What kind’a car?
I so hate being home alone.
A new model.
Home alone, just watching TV...
I know, I know.
Just don’t get the white one again.
Are you hungry? – My head’s hurting.
I don't want anything. – It is so dark in here. Is this water?
Hate the bright light.
Did you spill something here? Are you drinking from four glasses?
You wan’ a sip? Fine, dry Champagne.
Don't you want to take a shower?
Come on, give me a hug, Baby!
It is always so dark in here.
Why don’t you just turn on the light?
Don’t need a drink!
Don’t turn it on!
BERNARD (showing the car magazine)
Take a look, please!
What if I am drinking from four?
Remember, when I was so drunk –
What are you staring at again?
I wanna put on some’ sexy –
Please put on the blue satin-dress!
You look so beautiful in it! Let us celebrate this evening!
Shh! Shh! What was that? What was that noise? Did you hear that?
BARBIE (reading the car magazine)
It’s a nice car...
But something is moving in there, in the closet!
Is there something in the closet?
Somebody is in the closet!
Open it then, go on, open!
A tiny mouse, Tom and Jerry,
or did your fur-coat come to life?
I know, it is your feather boa!
BARBIE (slams the magazine)
Are you crazy? You think I could...
Oh, you know what? There are three men!
I’m not joking!
Other five are in the kitchen.
It is all done. There’s no way back
If you think I could have done this.
We have nothing to talk about.
I’m here alone, you are leaving
because your business and job are
more important I've ever been!
Leave me alone!
Please, I didn't mean it that way!
I do love you. Whatever you think it’s not true.
Please forgive me! How many times should I say it?
What’d you expect? The last three years,
most of the time I've hardly seen you.
I do hate your job, Bernard!
You must be running away from me.
You do not want me any more!
You’re sleeping with other women!
That is why you’re always away.
What do you want me tonight for?
None of your bimbos could show up?
How can you say that? What bimbo?
Six bedrooms and the best interior designer.
What else could I want? Got it all.
Here I am and waiting for you
with no friends, not even a cat. Got a Lexus.
Where's my hubby?
Believe me, it is not easy.
You know well how the business works.
It has nothing to do with us.
When you run home it’s even worse,
Let’s hop in bed – and then you leave!
BERNARD (to himself)
Now comes that there is no present.
Just show up like that, what’d you think?
Without even a lousy gift?
I want better than this, Sweetheart!
(Bernard hands her a box, she opens it and pulls a necklace out)
What a necklace! A pearl necklace!
Ankle bracelet! Ankle bracelet!
Forgive me for being nasty!
This much, Bernard, why did you spend?
This is why I have to travel.
We couldn’t buy nice stuff like this.
And you think it’s all OK now?
You just buy me some lousy gift,
spend some money, problem is solved?
It’s enough now!
I’ll take it back!
I am sorry! I am sorry!
Please, forgive me!
I do not know what I’m saying...
Last night I was so... so crying...
You don’t know what I’m going through.
Tell me what’s wrong!
What can I say?
Tell me now what’s bothering you!
BERNARD (kisses her)
BERNARD (kisses her again)
BERNARD (and again)
Come on, hold me! Stronger, stronger!
I was longing for your smooth skin!
Mmmm... this is something new you’re wearing.
(he undresses her slowly)
Your bra is so sexy, Baby.
You bought it, of course it’s sexy.
Sweetheart, all of me is yours now,
My hair, smooth skin, two breasts, long legs.
Hold me stronger!
What is with you? Look at yourself,
just some fragrance could do all this?
I don't get it. What’s your problem?
Nothing! Come on, come on jump me!
Kiss me, touch me, I’m all horny!
Don’t make me wait, come to bed now!
Are you crazy? What’s wrong with you?
I’m all horny, kiss me, jump me!
Don’t make me wait, just get naked!
You came for this, you must do it!
Try to focus on the main thing!
You drank too much.
Come on take me, I am your slave forever now!
Anything you want me I’ll do. Ah, my Master!
Barbie, listen... I freshen up.
Oh, what a man! So strong and hard!
Tie me up, humiliate me! Hit me, hit me!
(he slaps her in the face)
Look, you just ruined my makeup.
Where’s the tissue?
It’s here. Want more?
Look at my face, it’s all swollen.
Come on now, it wasn’t that hard.
I’m glad you know how hard it was.
Want one back so you can feel it?
No one slapped me in the face since age seventeen.
Just do not say: “please forgive me”!
Don’t forgive me. I deserve it.
You still love me?
No. I’m angry. I hate you.
Well, good. I think I should go then.
Good. Get out now.
Half of the house – we’ll sell it, belongs to me now.
Take the new car, you can have it.
It is good that we have no kids.
One less problem, all I’m saying.
(he grabs her shoulders and starts massaging her)
Relax a bit.
Do you feel like divorcing me?
And that woman?
What? What woman?
The one you slapped my face for, completely ruined the left side.
Just the make-up.
I’m sure you’d be happy with her!
Why exactly are you wearing make-up for home?
Just in case you want to hit me,
I can leave some mark on your palms.
You know what, I put some on you.
I’ll hit you then, we’ll get even.
(she starts putting make-up on him)
You’ll see how the make-up tastes if
It is mixed with drops of your tears.
Don’t play with me!
Shush! Stop talking!
I don’t want you to smudge the gloss.
“What’s this, Barbie? What did you think?
I leave you here, and you think that you are single?”
BERNARD (he’s trying to laugh)
„I come home and you're not happy?"
(slaps him in the face)
“You'll regret it, you little whore
for lying to me once again!
What shall I do with you? That’s it,
you go in there! I lock you up
in the closet till the morning.
“Move it, Barbie! I lock you in!”
Don’t fool around!
“Why would you put on the make-up?
Why are so many glasses here?
Who is hiding in the closet?”
(she opens the closet the closet door wide)
(he is staring at the three men in the closet)
“What’s this, Barbie? Who are these men?
I just leave the house once and you...
I get it now, oh stupid me,
I get it now, make-up, champagne!
Macho men, nipple-rings, tattoos...
So disgusting, three all at once!
This is why I work all day long,
So you can pay off your escorts?
Don’t worry now, it’s quite all right.
Better than screwing the neighbor.
This is really a service like
pedicure or facial, massage.
You just let me know next time if
you are buying something like this.
Want you to have real quality.
I do hope it was not too cheap!
This is so great, there’s no sloppy,
Boring housewife waiting for me
when I arrive home from a trip!
Barbie, you are my wildest dream!
Barbie, you seem all diff'rent now.
I want you bad! Come on, Baby!
It turns me on knowing that you're
cheating on me. Kiss me, Barbie!"
Got to go soon.
Is it dawn yet?
I freshen up.
Fix you a bite.
Could you make me a coffee, too?
In the bathroom there’s refreshing mint shower-gel.
I don’t want you falling asleep while at the wheel.
I’ve put fresh clothes on the hanger...
GULLIVER IN FAREMIDO
Written by Gregory Vajda and David Hill
Based on a short story by Frigyes Karinthy
Ladies and gentlemen,
Knowing what you know about the shocking experiences that I, Gulliver, endured on my previous travels, you will be surprised to learn that some two hundred years later, I once again left my wife and children in Redriff to voyage beyond the shores of my beloved England. If an explanation is required for my venturing forth, as a surgeon on board His Majesty’s Ship the Bulwark, I need only mention that it was July nineteen hundred and fourteen, and I was stirred by that burning patriotism that fills all Englishmen when their country is at war. My resolve was only strengthened by the fact that, as a Royal Naval Reserve doctor, I received an urgent call to duty, neglecting which would lead to a court martial and probable execution.
At first, I thought that I would not be going far. The ship was detailed for coastal defense, and for several months it cruised close to home. But on November 25, intercepting an enemy ship, we struck a floating mine. One moment I was on the bridge, conversing with the captain. The next moment the ship was on her side and sinking fast. The captain beckoned me to follow him to a hydroplane with which we could escape. The propeller began to churn the air. As we rose into the fog, the roar of the engine made talking impossible. Several times I almost lost consciousness as freezing air raced across my face. I cannot say whether we were flying for three hours or half a day when I realized that the fog had cleared and we were so high that the air was thinning. I grabbed the captain’s arm, but he did not move. He was rigid and his eyes were glazed. I pushed him aside and grabbed the controls. But I had a desperate feeling that I could not go on, that these were my final moments. Just then, I heard a loud swishing overhead, and a large bird-shaped mechanism descended. I felt myself being lifted from my seat, and at the same time a strange, sweet music engulfed me. I closed my eyes.
When I opened my eyes again, I saw shining green meadowland and the irregular outlines of rivers and mountain chains. At first the land was above me, then it was under me, and I was being lowered gently toward it, landing in a flowery clearing.
Then I realized why I felt so happy. For about an hour a four-note chord had been resounding around me, such a sweet and pure sound that I felt I was swimming in it.
I came out of a daze to find myself surrounded by a landscape bathed in light from a sun that was twice the size it appeared at home. Behind me was a gently sloping mountain. In front of me was a glinting river crossed by a simple iron bridge. Beyond it, a long white road led through bluish mist toward a distant forest, where there was a gateway through the trees.
Then I noticed that the machine which had brought me here was standing nearby. It looked like an aircraft, but it was now standing vertically on the ground, with silver wings on each side. The body was made of gold with diamond inlays. Crowning it was an oval golden mass like a stylized human head. In place of eyes were two round lenses, behind which a red light flickered. The structure stood on two tapering supports that ended in a complicated system of wheels. Despite its complexity, the machine radiated a sense of harmonious inevitability. I can only express this approximately by saying that the machine was beautiful.
The sweet music coming from the machine stirred me.
I opened my mouth and, after a few clumsy attempts, succeeded in repeating the sounds.
At this the music stopped. The machine tensed, as if listening. Then it rose, circled over me a few times. Suddenly several other machines flew in, landed and approached me. They stood in a circle, and a regular concert began around me.
It occurred to me that they were addressing me; that in this place, the language was made up of music. I tried to show the machines that I would like to learn the language. Pointing at a nearby palace, I mimed my desire to know its name. The machines caught my meaning and replied: so-la-ti-mi-re. I repeated this. One of the machines pointed to itself and sang: so-la-ti. Then, with a sweeping gesture that embraced the whole horizon, it told me: fa-re-mi-do. These were the same four notes I had heard as I landed. Now I knew that the place was called Faremido.
During my earlier voyages, I had always clung to the concept of the world laid down by eminent scientists, while at the same time accepting realities that could in no way fit that concept. I knew that a serious scientist would not be influenced in his theories by something as trifling as a fact that directly contradicted them.
But as days and weeks passed in this new place, I started sensing possibilities I had never dreamt of. The inhabitants were not only dissimilar to humans, but in the sense of our globe could not be called living creatures. Though they acted purposefully, the solatis were made of inorganic substances: iron, gold and others, some unknown to our chemistry. These amazing beings manufactured their own peers. This method of procreation appeared more difficult than the one employed on our globe – some might add that it was much less enjoyable – but as far as the end product was concerned, it was highly reliable. The secret force which we call vitality was something they had no need for. Instead, they were driven by controllable forces such as heat and electricity. The solatis’ association of ideas, I discovered, was faster and more precise than our own. As for the force of their passions, it seemed a telling fact that, even to express their simplest ideas, they used the medium that we employ to express heightened feelings – music.
Months passed, and I became better at understanding and speaking the solati language. I was able to carry out longer conversations with a solati, named Midore, who became a sort of tutor to me. One day I came to learn a great deal about the solatis' view when trying to explain to him what I meant by the “human brain.” He could not understand this expression.
“It is impossible,” he said, “that an instrument made of the corrupt materials of your body” – this was how Midore described flesh and blood – “can carry out the true function of the brain: to understand the relations between things.”
When I tried to argue with him and said that our own thinkers were well aware of the mind’s purpose, Midore skeptically asked how our alleged thinkers functioned.
I was only too pleased to have a chance to establish, in this distant land, the glory of the great philosophers of the human race, especially of my beloved country. Midore heard me out politely. Then he said that I had answered all sorts of questions, but not the one he had asked.
It seemed that for centuries we had done nothing but dismantle and reconstruct our intellects. This was understandable, Midore said. Such a disease occurred in Faremido, too. The clear liquid metal of a solati’s brain sometimes went bad, and its eyes turned inward. Its gibbering proved that it was seeing its own mind instead of the world. It seriously considered such questions as: Is my will really my own? Do I know what I believe, or believe what I know? Am I conscious because I exist, or do I exist because I am conscious? Do we think in images or imagine thoughts? Can there be force without matter? Is there a higher, immaterial intelligence? Midore said this disease also made the solati’s tones change to discordant noises resembling human speech.
“You see, I completely understand your description. These disorders do occur. The human mind is a lump of unpolished glass that must be made into a lens. The material must be purified and made completely transparent.”
“You seem afraid that if the mind were perfectly transparent, it would disappear.”
My arrival had given Faremido’s scientists a chance to observe my kind of “do-ti-re” more closely. They classified me as “remisolami-tidore,” which meant a germ that had taken on qualities similar to those of solatis. My head produced something superficially resembling their intellectual product. On the other hand, they had noticed that I regularly tore fruit from Faremido’s trees to eat. They took this as proof that I was still an inferior being, only able to support my evanescent life through the destruction of other organisms.
I felt horrified at the solatis’ ignorant idea that the human race – even the citizens of my beloved country – were such lowly creatures. I told Midore to listen while I clarified a few things. I related how deserted the Earth had been until life appeared. Over untold centuries, Life strove to prevail in many forms. After millions of years of experiments Life chose a strange, four-handed animal with a wrinkled face, eyes shifting restlessly under bushy eyebrows, to make something perfect out of it. Time passed, and within the skull of this creature the organ of consciousness developed. It understood internal and external phenomena and adjusted to them, not in dreamy ignorance but in the flaming torchlight of understanding. Here was humanity: reveling in existence, manipulating matter, forging beautiful individual lives, shouting in exultation at the sky!
Midore replied, with an assurance that startled me at first. It appeared that he knew the story better than I did, thanks to his centuries of studying Earth, which they called Lasomi. He had watched with concern as the disease I called life spread ever wider across the planet.
“When dotires developed to the point where they had consciousness, I was especially worried,” Midore confessed. “They thought of new ways to exploit the planet. I thought that they might eventually find a way to become imperishable like us. But after further examination, I knew that this would not happen. Humans are two-headed monsters. The organ of consciousness, instead of replacing that of instinct, grew separately in the front of the skull. Instinct continued to develop in the back. Two organs, serving opposite aims. One building up, the other tearing down. One holding tight to escape being swept away, the other cutting the ties. One covering the body so as not to freeze, the other ripping the garments off. Humans will perish as soon as those two hemispheres press together. They will smother each other like two seeds planted in the same spot.”
I could fill several volumes and compose a hundred symphonies from all that happened in Faremido. But the lessons I learned there I could never explain fully here on Earth. Let me close with a few words about my last day in Faremido.
Sitting close to my tutor, I was filled with a strange sadness, not tormenting but oddly agreeable. I looked into his face which, according to our terrestrial thinking, was made of lifeless matter, gold and stones, yet which embodied the finest beauty. I began to sob. Stammering, I told Midore that I was converted. Then I reminded him that even my miserable body contained precious materials, inorganic elements. I asked him to destroy me, consume me in fire, filter me, extract all that was worth something. I asked him to use it to shape a solati’s eye or mouth or ear, and to throw the rest of my matter to the winds so that it could never again combine together.
Midore said my wish made sense. It showed that I was beginning to understand. But he said my body was not ready. If he carried out the procedure, it would cause me great pain. Nor was there any need for it. Very soon a decomposing process would start within me naturally. He advised me to return to Earth and to my human life.
With an aching heart, I said goodbye to the solatis I had been lucky enough to know. My tutor placed me in a machine and gave me a pill to make me sleep, sparing me the rigors of the long journey.
It was hard to get used to dealing with the do-ti-res at home, whose forms I now found intolerable. They considered me insane when I winced at their approaches, their outstretched hands. How could I tell them that I had come to consider life a contagious disease, and felt that contact with it threatened mortal danger?
Be that as it may, when I arrived back in Redriff on February 2, 1916, I found my wife and children, as always, in good health.