Karlin is a composer who has won both Oscar and Emmy Awards, along
with many other honors for his music. He has written innumerable
works, including scores for the films "West World" and
"The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman." He is the composer
of the fantastic musical dramatic epic"The Peace Seeker"
performed at this concert.
Excerpt of an interview with
Fred Karlin, conducted by Quoc Thai and Quynh Huong from Overseas
Radio Saigon on November 16, 1998 (Originally in English)
Quoc Thai: Why
did you entitle the piece "The Peace Seeker"?
Fred Karlin: Well,
because we're all peace seekers. Some of us are more consciously
doing that and are more aware of it than others, but we all really
want that. And those who don't realize they want peace, want happiness.
She relates the two together as one: bliss, happiness, peace; it's
the inner peace that we are talking about. I think that we all believe
in our hearts that if we found inner peace that there would be world
peace. So, it has really the possibility of quite a major impact.
I took that line from Her, mentioning that for all peace seekers,
there's the wisdom of this Sage, realizing that we can look within
us to find the Way, and I related the rest of Her poems to that.
piece has a lot to do with compassion. Several of the characters
in it who sing these folk/rock songs suffer greatly; they suffer
so much from everybody else's suffering around them that they hardly
know what to do. And so one poem, which is now a song, entitled
"Cannot Do A Thing With My Heart," starts off with that
character portrayed in the poem wanting to give her heart away because
she just can't do anything with it. She says, "What can I do
for the world? What can I do for my people? Always full of troubles,
always full of sorrows." Her heart is breaking from that, this
all asked that. Right now, there is just this moment the horrendous
natural disaster down in Central America, and in Middle America,
in the Midwest. And it's always something. So, how do we deal with
all this? How do we get over it? What do we do with our compassion?
It may be an unanswered question: "What do we do with this?"
Well, this Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, interestingly
enough, they're a group that goes into these disaster areas to help,
with hands-on help, not just funding, which they do as well. But
also, they just dig in and help, just as Jimmy Carter and his wife
Rosalyn went down to Central America the other day to help by way
of example. The piece helps to underscore in a way, too, that we
can either stand around and suffer, or we can look for a tranquility
and peace and meaning in the world inside us. The songs are folk/rock
songs that everybody will enjoy; also, music sometimes leaves you
with something that's not just abstract. I hope to leave them with
Excerpt of an interview with
Fred Karlin, conducted by
Liz Pennington for "In Touch With Orange County",
KEZY 95.9FM (Originally in English)
with Fred Karlin (middle) on KEZY 95.9FM. on November 10,
feel very privileged myself to be able to have worked on this piece
and written it for many reasons. But, it's very appropriate for
me because of my dramatic background all these years, to be able
to work with these poems, which I have selected and organized so
that they have a certain sensibility together. I have spun them
together so they mean something, and I've given them the title "The
Peace Seeker," which is really a line from one of Supreme Master
Ching Hai's poems. Her poem starts, "Once upon a time, a true
peace lover wandered around the many worlds in search of eternal
happiness." What this poem tells us, basically, is that happiness
and peace are within each of us and that the reason we all suffer
so much, as we may do from time to time, is because we are looking
outside ourselves. Suppose if everybody were to connect with themselves
in that way, there would be nothing but peace and happiness.
starts with yourself and that's very beautiful.
Yeah, it is, and the other side of this,
for the Supreme Master Ching Hai, the poet, She describes various
ways in which we come face to face with the darker part of life because
of this, because of not having that connection. I suppose that is
kind of a reverse example illustrating that if we look inside and
really make that personal connection, we wouldn't, and we'd stop seeking
happiness without - whether it's fame and fortune, which one of Her
lyrics talks about. We would not have to confront this darkness, and
so the subjects of the five songs have to do with a character, who
is compassionate; many of them have to do with compassion.
one is a character, who is metaphorically looking at a stone statue,
and actually, she feels coming from that inanimate object such compassion
for everybody's suffering, that she feels it very, very intensely.
Each one of these songs deals with another aspect, whether it is the
aspect of separation from one's heart, or the selection of security
and money at the risk, and sometimes the fact, of losing touch with
your own heart. These are painful things to come face to face with,
and they become, in a way, even more accessible through the use of
music. That's the power of music. That is why it helps with film and
any other dramatic media tremendously.