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Life Is The Quest For Joy

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Album Review

J. Donald Walters (aka Kriyananda) composed a delightful and elegant melody, and then gave it the theme-and-variation treatment on this relaxing and moving album. Key instruments taking turns with the melody are clarion and harp (Walters), cello (Eleni Cardona), violin (Brenda Collins), and guitar (Anna Allesandri). Whispers of delicate chimes and lush romantic strings back the variations. Many feelings are expressed on the variations — hope, playfulness, nostalgia, melancholy, wonder, joy — and the melody (like the best mantra) not only withstands its many variations but gets better with each turn. "The Hidden Mystery" is a string arrangement that reminded me of the hoedown sound of Aaron Copland. The dramatic gongs in "Remembered Aspiration" contrast dramatically with the timid melody played by the harp. In the liner notes, Walters relates the story of praying to be given an endearing "multi-purpose" melody when he was composing the score for his slideshow showing people of different countries and life's attitudes. I'd say he succeeded nobly.


Genre: Religion & Spirituality

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

J. Donald Walters (aka Swami Kriyananda) is a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, famed author of Autobiography of a Yogi. Walters lived for years in India, lecturing (he speaks nine languages) and singing (in a soothing baritone voice in native Bengali and Hindi) to many thousands. Walters began composing in 1964 and has produced over 300 choral and vocal works. In 1968, Walters founded the Ananda World Brotherhood Village, an intentional spiritual community near Nevada City, California. The...
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Life Is The Quest For Joy, J. Donald Walters
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