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Tunes for a Monday Morning

Ludovico Einaudi performs in the Arctic Ocean

Today, something breath-takingly beautiful:

In the video above, Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi performs "Elegy for the Arctic" on a platform floating in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, in support of the Greenpeace campaign for the region. Greenpeace has urged the OSPAR Commission not to miss the opportunity to protect international Arctic waters under its mandate at their meeting this month in Tenerife. In this piece, Einaudi has turned into music the voices of the eight million people asking for Arctic protection, accompanied by the sound of birds, wind, waves, and the crashing of icebergs.

"Being here has been a great experience,” says Einaudi. “I can see the purity and fragility of this area with my own eyes and interpret a song I wrote to be played upon the best stage in the world. It is important that we understand the importance of the Arctic, stop the process of destruction and protect it." More information on the Save the Arctic initiative can be found here.

Below: In the first short video, the director and musicians of the Seattle Symphony discuss "Become Ocean" by American composer John Luther Adams. In the second video, you can hear the piece itself. Adams, based in Alaska, often find his inspiration in the natural world. "Life on earth first emerged from the sea," he says. "And as the polar ice melts and sea level rises, we humans find ourself facing the prospect that, once again, we might literally become ocean."

"My composing is all to do with finding a way of being in the world that’s not separate from the world." - John Luther Adams

And to end with:

"This Place Was Shelter" by Ólafur Arnalds, a composer of neoclassical electronica from Mosfellsbær, Iceland, from his third album, For Now I am Winter. It's a beautiful video, but also incredibly sad, be warned. There's quite a lot of sadness in Arnalds' music, but also moments of lightness and redemption. "Life always goes on," he says. "There's always darkness after light and then after darkness there'll be light again -- it's a circle."

"How do people imagine the landscapes they find themselves in?" Barry Lopez mused in his classic book on the far north, Arctic Dreams. "How does the land shape the imaginations of the people who dwell in it? How does desire itself, the desire to comprehend, shape knowledge?''

These are all good questions to ask. I turn to art to find the answers.

Arctic Dreams

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