Ser Feliz

For Piano, Orchestra, and Voice.


·  Be Happy  ·

Happiness: a personal, positive, transitory feeling.

More intense than contentment yet shorter lived.

Less than elation yet longer experienced.


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Happiness is a serious encounter. I explore its nature with sound, light, and words.

During happiness I forget the sadness of the world, all my worries, all the pain I have or ever felt. This happens even in the smallest moments I am happy: as I see a child play, a bird in flight, a cloud pass, as I hear the sound of the sea in a shell, the voice of a loved one, or breathe in the scent of rain as it patters on the hot, dry earth.

I can be happy on my own, but I am most happy with another, when I share.

To be happy I must be open in thought and heart.

The persistance of happiness requires I welcome its arrival.

I wish to be happy.

With happiness, however brief, my body and mind come together, my being feels at ease.

When happy I am touched by hope.

The greater my happiness, the less cynical I become, the more I trust. The opposite is often true for sadness.

When apparent in others, I feel happiness. The same is often true for sadness which shapes my experience of happiness.

To wish for another's happiness without regard for myself is an expression of love.

Art and Music

My senses have the potential to cause me happiness through pleasure. My first meeting of beauty in the form of art, music, or poetry may be powerful, and it may be that each time I return to a work of art it gives me pleasure, however as with anything frequently experienced my feelings change over time. If I return again and again I grow accustomed to whatever gives me pleasure, and its strength eases. The speed and duration of my happiness recedes.

At its heart, music encourages me to move, and at its most affecting, awakens me to dance. Dance is at the heart of happiness. The more I dance, the stronger my spirit feels, but there is a limit to how long I can dance. A day cannot be full from start to end with dance, but each ideal day, at least for me, would have a place for dance. Each perfect day, a place for dance with someone I love.

When I only listen to the music Ser Feliz I experience it as plaintive. When I also move with its arcs and rhythms something magical happens and I am transformed. I become happy.

An image accompanies the music. This began as a simple shell on the beech, but grew as I pondered on the colours and textures of happiness. Two figures appear to dance, at first within the hollow confines of the shell, one above another. A shell is a home, a protective place. I think of how happiness is at times hidden safe within and to myself.

The work Ser Feliz comprises three elements: the music, a painting, and a poem.

The poem seeks to bring together my thoughts about the nature of happiness, and how I wish you to be happy.

With happiness we can believe more positively in ourselves, in others, and in our potential to care for the wider community of living things that we call nature.



Ser Feliz

Be happy.

Be more than harm can touch.

Be loved and love.

Be the open arms of trust.

The air that holds the wing.

The waterworld of corel reef.

The warmth of gentle sun on skin.

The solace in a time of grief.

Be the change that lights the room.

The hope of more than one might dare.

The care towards the weak and lost.

Be all of these but most because with life become.

Be new.

With happiness believe.


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A full size extract from the artwork follows along with an early draft of the seashell...