Review by Angela Voss: Performance: Revealing the Orpheus Within by Anthony Rooley,
First published in: Early Music vol. 19, no.3, 451-453
Element Books are currently cornering the market for books on all aspects of ‘perennial wisdom’ in practice, from astrology to Zen Buddhism, with the aim, as their catalogue puts it, of meeting ‘the needs of a rapidly developing worldwide movement towards spiritual harmony, understanding and growth’ Through appealing to personal experience, committed and enthusiastic practitioners aim to guide us towards greater self-awareness through their particular disciplines. Anthony Rooley’s book offers an insight into the potential of performance as a key to self-knowledge.
It is a personal testimony to Rooley’s experience as a teacher and performer, with emphasis on the living moment of performer-audience contact. He writes from firmly within a Neoplatonic model of spiritual hierarchies; but his conviction that Renaissance attitudes towards the performing arts have much to teach us today is infectious and undoubtedly justified. It raises issues which need to be voiced.