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del Alma
(Songs of the Soul)

O Living Flame of Love

O living flame of love!

  how soothingly you wound

   my soul in its profundity—

         that center

     you once made havoc of.

  O finish!  Take me soon!

Tearing the veil away in

        love’s encounter!

For Mezzo‐Soprano, Harp and Chamber Orchestra

Three poems by Spain’s most famous mystic poet, St. John of the Cross

Gay Bastian - ​Vocalist

Lysa Ryting - Harp

William Call - Conducting the City Chamber Players

Track 01: O Llama de Amor Viva
00:00 / 02:44
Track 02: Un Pastorcico, Mastered
00:00 / 03:29
Track 03: En Una Noche Final
00:00 / 05:45
Saint John of the Cross.jpg

St. John of the Cross was born near Avila in 1542 into a Jewish family converted to Christianity.  He grew up in poverty, his father having died when he was young.  He professed as a Carmelite in 1564 and moved to Salamanca where he studied theology and philosophy.  He was ordained a priest in 1567. 


He joined with Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) in a reformation of the Carmelite Order.  Still a young man, he worked as Teresa’s associate until 1577, founding monasteries around Spain and taking active part in their government.  These foundations and the reformation process were resisted by a great number of Carmelite friars.

n the night of 3 to 4 December 1577, in defiance of his superiors’ orders, he refused to relocate.  As a consequence he was taken prisoner and jailed in Toledo.  He was kept under a brutal confinement that included public lashing before the community at least weekly and severe isolation in a tiny cell barely large enough for his body.  He managed to escape nine months later by prying the cell door off its hinges.  He composed a great part of his writings while imprisoned.  Paper was passed to him by one of the friars guarding his cell.

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