The word “CREMERIA” was written in large ceramic letters down the side of a chimney that stretched upwards towards the sky. I can’t remember what town I was in, think it was somewhere near Bologna. Traffic had been good so I’d arrived early, so was sat in the car park of (what I thought was) an Italian crematorium, the chimney being a notable landmark in the town. That was where I had been told to wait for the promoter.
It was a good hour until he showed up. I decided the moment called for a bit of Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. I had Arvo Part’s ‘Da Pacem’ on CD so I put it in the car’s player and listened to it while I gazed out at the flat land which stretched away as far as the eye could see. Arvo Part is an Estonian composer, and he writes all his music for God. He is deeply spiritual and cares nought for fame. Choral, sparse, full of heavy harmony and slow notes that drift in and out. The particular collection I was listening to in (what I thought was) a Crematorium car park is heavily minor in key. Foreboding, tranquil, dark.
As I looked out over fields that lay to my right I began to think about all the people who had passed. All the people who had lived and gone. I deeply contemplated the nature of life and death as the heavy grey clouds began to gather on the horizon and move their way towards me. The beauty of life and the whole harmony of the voices enveloped me as I sat in (what I though was) a crematorium car park. It seemed too melancholic to handle. I listened intently as the soft breeze rolled in and everything quietly moved its way through time. It felt like the universe contained nothing but me, eternity and the infinite harmony of ‘Da Pacem’. It was a profound moment.
Just before the promoter turned up I checked the English/Italian dictionary that I kept in the glove compartment. Turns out that Cremeria actually means ‘Dairy’. All my earnest musings on existence had been undertaken next to an ice cream factory, not a crematorium.
It’s funny how music can bring on notions that are far removed from your actual situation. Reality, once again, mocked my poetic soul that day.