to the Silence: Inside the Music and Lyrics of Van Morrison
by Peter Mills
The first in-depth study of Van Morrison's musical genius
"Music is spiritual, the music business isn't"--Van Morrison, 1991
Peter Mills' groundbreaking new book Hymns to the Silence is a detailed
look at Morrison as a singer, performer, lyricist, musician, and writer.
Particular attention is paid throughout the work to the contradictions
and tensions that are central to any understanding of his work as a whole.
Van Morrison has a global profile due to his enduring popularity and his
dedication to live performance, which keeps him before audiences all over
the world, and this is the first in-depth study of Van Morrison's musical
genius, going back 40 years, investigating the oppositions and harmonies
within his work.
Presenting a prismatic approach to Van Morrison's entire oeuvre, mills
engages with his subject in a manner which is fresh, challenging to received
wisdom, and accessible in style. He explores the thematic tensions that
characterize Morrison's work, examines his ideas about music and spirituality,
and the relationship between the two. Mills also considers him in the context
of the broader schema of the music industry as a "difficult" but high-yielding
earner. As a writer and lyricist, specifically as an Irish writer, Morrison
has recorded musical settings of Yeats poems, collaborated with Seamus
Heaney, Paul Durcan and Gerald Dawe, and who regularly drops quotes from
James Joyce and Samuel Beckett into his live performances. It also looks
at him as a singer and at how he uses his voice as an interpretive instrument.
Other chapters in the book focus on his use of mythology, on his stage
performances, and on his continuing fascination with America and its musical
Hymns to the Silence is a thoroughly informed and enlightened study
of the art of a pop music maverick that will delight fans the world over.
Hardcover from Continuum