I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaim'd their malefactions;
– From Hamlet, Act II Scene 2 by William Shakespeare
One of the definitive Jeff Johnson albums of the early 1980's, Shadow Play features a seamless musical and conceptual score that moves in and about the world of shadow and light.
Jeff Johnson: Piano, keys, vocorder & vocals
Sandy Simpson: Guitars, bass & vocals Drums & timpani
Violin & viola: Paul Patterson
Oregon Bass: David Friesen
Tablas & percussion: Roger Hadley
Flute: Susie May
Pam Mark Hall: Additional backing vocals
Art is tied to reality with a thousand ties.
- Hans Rookmaaker
Locked in a cave, a group of prisoners see only reflected silhouettes not things themselves. That image from Plato opens Shadow Play, a celebrated exploration of inner life. Marrying classical sensibilities with the energy of rock, Jeff Johnson sketches ten musical vignettes of searchers and dreamers whose quests and questions mirror our own.
Mrs. Gibb, from Thornton Wilder's play, Our Town, dreams of seeing Paris. Vincent Van Gogh in the Borinage, the coal mines of France, learns of his ambition to paint. Camus, the French philosopher, struggles for the meaning of existence. The "souls of all mankind' lead Ishmael, Moby Dick's famed seeker, in search of "the ungraspable phantom of life." The final vision of "Penumbrae" unveils the Celestial City, where "shadows dance around the New Jerusalem."
Lyrically brief but musically expansive, Shadow Play is a major work of power and beauty. – Gord Wilson
Music Review –
Johnson roams the realm of the human quest for supreme Truth, exploring the dreams and shadows that follow each of us before and after conversion. Thought and emotion are required to grasp the meanings of the songs, for each, as related to the others, is like an onion peeled to reveal yet another layer...similar to a reading of Charles Williams.
released March 15, 1983
Produced, engineered & mixed Jeff Johnson & Sandy Simpson
Recorded at The Ark / Tigard, OR
All sound effects recorded on location by Ark Mobile.
Susie, for her patience and love, despite mild successes; Sandy, for his unwavering support as an artist and friend; David & Kathy, for their examples of faith and art; Steve Griffith, for his enthusiasm for literature and truth; and to all of the rest of my family and friends who have given me the benefit of the doubt, even when the benefit has seemed doubtful.
ArkMusic recording artist, composer, producer, and Selah worship leader has released numerous solo recordings along with
collaborations with Irish flutist, Brian Dunning inspired by Stephen Lawhead's novels and guitarist, Phil Keaggy. View Jeff's complete discography here: www.selahservice.com/2015/05/jeff-johnsons-arkmusic-discography/...more
Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light.
– From The Republic, Book VII, Plato
That vague, crepuscular time, the time of regrets that resemble hopes, of hopes that resemble regrets, when youth has passed, but old age is not yet arrived.
– From Father And Sons, Ivan Turgenev
Say your "goodbye" and I'll fly away to the moon,
Don't ask me "why?," 'cause I've got to get away soon.
Just let me dream,
'cause it takes the pain away when I know I could be somewhere. . . Anywhere.
All of my life I have watched my dreams come and go,
And all of my life I have tried to learn what you know.
Still I am young and there may be time for me, time for me to just. . .
I'm beating on the fortress door,
I'm crying to the guard.
I'm bleeding and my bones are broken.
I can't believe it's real.
Well I could leave this great facade,
I could sneak out through the back.
But look up there, they're laughing.
Oh I can't believe it's real,
I want to go somewhere.
Let me go. . .
Say your "goodbye" and I'll fly away to the moon,
Don't ask me "why?," 'cause I've got to get away soon,
Still I am young and there may be time for me,
time for me to just . . .
A caged bird in spring knows quite well that he might serve some end; he is well aware that there is something for him to do, but he cannot do it. What is it? he does not quite remember. Then some vague ideas occur to him, and he says to himself, "the others build their nests and lay their eggs and bring up their little ones"; and knocks his head against the bars of the cage. But the cage remains, and the bird is maddened by anguish.
– From a letter to his brother, Theo, Vincent Van Gogh; Borinage, July 1880
All those years and all those tears seem so distant to me,
And all these fears like millions of mirrors seem to be all I see.
But if only I could be a painter,
Or maybe I already am.
'Cause I see that I'm not what I'm supposed to be. . .
I guess that's what keeps haunting me.
The Devil enters the prompter's box and the play is ready to start.
– From The Harpy, Robert Williams Service
Long ago I met you in the Play,
In the Play we knew just what to say,
We were told when to move, "Try to make it real smooth."
It was all that we could handle way back then.
But the Curtain never fell down on the Play,
And the Characters we acted out remain,
Though the Show's a success, there are some who want out,
The Director handles it in his own way,
And we never see them much more in the Play. . .
You were one of them.
Share the secret word.
Get me out of here. . .
Track Name: The Phantoms Know (So Long, Andromeda)
THE PHANTOMS KNOW (SO LONG, ANDROMEDA)
. . .and still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But the same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.
– From Moby Dick, Herman Melville
So long, Andromeda,
But I knew that I would not stay here that long.
I know it sounds absurd,
But even you will someday disappear.
So, so long, Andromeda,
But I knew it would boil down to leaving you,
Leaving everything that I wanted to embrace. . .
The things I've spent my whole life working for, living for, dying for. . .
The ancient writer knew when he called the human being a phantom.
The art nouveau lampshade flickers its light across the darkened room.
A T.V. show is on, but suddenly the screen shows nothing there.
I think that there's phantoms in this room,
The souls of all mankind that led me here,
Left me here.
These phantoms know the meaning,
the meaning of the curse.
Theses phantoms know what we'll know,
the truth we wished reversed.
The phantoms know the curtain falls someday. . .
The ancient writer knew when he called the human being a "phantom."
And so I learned that familiar paths traced in the dusk of summer evenings may lead as well to prisons as to innocent, untroubled sleep.
– From The Stranger, Albert Camus
Nobody knows me like I do and I'll never let them know.
Nobody sees things like I see and I'll never let them see.
'Cause I'm the Stranger,
I'm the Stranger.
Oh what a fool I was back then, and oh what a fool I'm now.
If only I could go back again and begin again somehow,
But Quasimodo and I must run to fortify Notre Dame,
We'll climb up the stairs and ring the bells to warn the entire land.
That I'm the Stranger,
I'm the Stranger. . .
Waiting for something,
Afraid of the one thing,
The one thing that he knows will change him. . .
1: a space of partial illumination (as in an eclipse) between the perfect shadow of all sides and the full light. 2: a surrounding or adjoining region in which something exists to a lesser degree.
– Webster's Dictionary
And for all I can tell, the only difference is that what many see we call a real thing, and what only one sees we call a dream. But things that many see may have no taste or moment in them at all, and things that are shown only to one may be spears and waterspouts of truth from the very depth of truth.
– From Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
Shadow growing longer in this room of mine,
Shadows on the ceiling in this room of mine.
And I see that nothing's left to chance in its flickering advance,
But somehow I thought it never could reach me.
Shadows growing longer in this heart of mine,
Shadows on the walls of this heart of mine.
And I see that all the reasons why the seasons should go by so slowly, Are that I might live to be.
Shadows growing longer in this life of mine,
Shadows at the doorstep to this life of mine,
And I see Him knocking at the Door, but I'm afraid no more,
For this life is but the shadow of a brighter world,
So far away,
A new Creation is unfurled
Where shadows dance around the New Jerusalem
At Home at last. . .
at Home at last.