Herbert Whone was a fine man, musician and writer. I corresponded with him, mainly about his book The hidden face of music back in the 80-s, I think. In my own quest to find “the hidden face of music” I even visited him in Harrogate and have fond memories of our talks and him giving me a private tour of Fountains Abbey.
I still remember the details about the monks and the prohibition against ONE (the cup had TWO ears, the monks walked in TWO rows, etc.) and his description of dinner at the Abbey. One would imagine that food would be served and eaten in silence. However, in so called silence many wayward thoughts enter our mind. To hinder that, the brother with the best voice sat high up on a ledge and read from some holy book during meal.
And once a month, the other brothers prayed for him, so that we would not, Narcissus-like, fall in love with his own voice. Such prayers have relevance even today. Did I say “even”? I meant much more relevance today.
Anyway, the other day I stumbled upon a site dedicated to Herbert, who now resides in another dimension. (And here is a vita of the man. ) The site presents some of his paintings, photographs and poems. (He was not only a musician and writer.)
Among the poems I found, expressed in a poem, something I’ve been preaching in prose: that being better than what we criticize, seeing the war-seed in ourselves, is an essential step to real peace. It felt good to be in harmony with Herbert in this way, too.