Posted by: bwoof | November 7, 2015

Chronos and Kairos Time

BethMikeJanzenMEWWith deep respect for composer musician Mike Janzen, I find myself more aware of the clock ticking (‘chronos’ time) AND of the heart tug towards the eternal, the joyful, the mind-bending overflow of ‘kairos’ time that renders hours and minutes irrelevant and unnoticed.

Janzen’s CD “Nudging Forever” release party last at Glen Gould Theatre (in the mothership CBC Building in Toronto) celebrated the tension between these two divergent time concepts. He notes that we English speakers have just one word for Time as it pertains to the clock. Indeed, many of us are handcuffed to the incessant march forward into the next moment, with hardly a chance to reflect on that which happened in the past. It is this busy-driven and frenetic pace, chronos time, that Janzen implores us to reconsider. Note that the god Chronos ate his children. Indeed!

Is chronos all there is?   No. And to illustrate the point in a soundscape merge of classical (enter players from the Toronto Symphony) and jazz themes, often in tension with each other, Janzen compositions beautifully engage listeners.  While the violins and cellos seem to long for that steady beat and resolution of chords and timing, the Janzen jazz trio nestles in the off beat, the syncopation of time signatures that I don’t think I’ve ever heard. This is the ‘kairos’.

When the 15/8 time metered out, it was the violinists in my view who intensely counted groups of 5…and for those of us raised on hymns in church with a strong melody and predictable harmony in 4/4 time it was certainly a stretch. But a stretch is needed…and what I want.

Be sure to check out Nudging Forever. It’s worth a listen, over and over.

Grateful for:

  • The CBC and the public space(s) like Glen Gould Theatre. How classy and honouring to art forms. It feeds the soul.
  • MEW and her 60 years of profound influence on me and others
  • Imago, Caratite, and the art community of faith-based-seekers-and-pilgrims. Thank you for investing in great music.

Curious about:

  • How on earth, really, does 15/8 time work?
  • How will the new Arts and Culture SHSM at OP take shape?


  1. I love what you do in this space.

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