Review: “Song of Fire” is a unique type of what is essentially a memoir and personal journey through the author’s experiences in which the love of music was dominant. It is written as a series of vignettes combining both words and musical tracks you can download to fully appreciate the depth of the author’s passion as scenes of his life are revealed as the motivation of composing a song. Even were a reader deaf, the descriptions of melody and sound might be quite provocative. Some of the titles include “Loma Prieta”, “Orpheus in the Underworld”, “Uncertainty” and “The Blue Grotto.”
The writing itself is expansive, and was refreshingly mixed with intelligent, well-written prose and vivid memories often combining contemporary observations and historical perspectives. The commentary was both informative and interesting discussing everything from Mayan cosmology or Darwinian theories; from cacao bean differences to the innate attraction to music most of us are born with. Definitely a work of creative non-fiction, whether you are a true lover of music and its history or not, “Song of Fire” was what I call a beautiful work, and revealed aspects of the author’s life. What I particularly appreciated also was the author’s presentation of the sometimes utter normalcy yet special dynamics that gay life and relationships can naturally have.
I absolutely have to say this is one of the best books of its type I’ve ever read in my life. I literally had tears in my eyes while as I read and listened, for I’d rarely experienced anything that spoke to me strongly. I felt I’d been privileged to share the spirit of one I find comfortable soul-wise. Thank you, Mr. O’Bergh for letting me read your work.
Reviewer Note: Some prefer to get right into a book, but unlike a print copy, which you can usually flip over and find the synopsis on the back cover, with e-books that’s not an option. You download them after deciding to purchase after reading the description, and you start reading at your convenience. Sometimes it is easy to forget what it is exactly about if there was a long pause. This author chose to include an “about this book” section at the beginning. I completely appreciated that because I didn’t have to do a web search for it until I wanted.
- Publication date: June 12, 2011
- Publisher: Jon O’Bergh
- Available at eMusic (music, and other places online), Smashwords (text and music)
- Genre: Memoir, Non-fiction, Autobiography
- Source: Author
Description: From the rotational beat of a pulsar in space to the rhythm of the heart, music infuses everything in the universe. Is it possible that music is the essence of the universe itself? The narrator in Song of Fire is on a journey to discover this fundamental truth. The interconnected stories are a rhapsody on the elements that constitute how we experience the world: the moments of humor, sorrow, passion and revelation that give significance to our origins and endings.
The vignettes are arranged according to how they resonate with one another, and are organized into four chapters titled after the four elements: Fire (Tales of Music, Love and Passion), Earth (Tales of Appetite, Desire and the Body), Water (Tales of Soul, Spirituality and Compassion), and Air (Ghost Stories, Spirits and Tales of Passage). As the narrator explains, supernovas “collapsed in an explosive release of energy, creating and dispersing the heavier elements into interstellar space: oxygen, for the air we breathe; carbon, present in the earth as the basis of life; and the marriage of hydrogen and oxygen to create water, which constitutes two-thirds of our bodies. We are literally made of stardust. A bit of fire. A bit of earth. A bit of water. And a bit of air.”
The real incidents that comprise Song of Fire range from the poignant to the humorous: love and loss; the history of chocolate; hurricanes and earthquakes; a close brush with a mass murderer; eye-opening journeys to other cultures; the presence of God. Accompanying the stories are links to original songs that provide another dimension through which to experience the tales. The songs are included with the purchase of the ebook and can be listened to online or downloaded.
Jon O’Bergh has been playing piano since the age of 7. He graduated from the University of California at Irvine, where he studied piano performance and composition while performing with a rock band. He has released 7 CDs, including “Intergalactic Odyssey”; “Specters of Twilight”; “Songs from Other Planets”; “Meditations from a Lost World,” which reached #3 nationwide on the NAV chart; “Sacred Spaces”; “Carta,” which reached #1; and “Millennial Landscapes,” which reached #2.
He has recorded and performed with the jazz/funk fusion band Gemini Soul, and co-produced songs for Marcel on his 2003 release “Uptown : 2025 A.D.,” and for Jarrod on his debut CD “Every Part of Me.” Jon has written songs, music for television, and concert music. “Timescape 2” for piano and violin introduced his music to San Francisco audiences in a concert that was subsequently broadcast by National Public Radio station KQED.