Think of somebody who you adore, who’s no longer here.

I’m listening (half listening) to this NPR podcast titled How Art Changes Us and half surfing.

I pause when I hear a familiar voice.  It’s Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic.

For the next 10 minutes, he has my full attention.

So here’s the instructions:

  1. Listen to 10 minutes (from 40:22 to 50:40) of this podcast How Art Changes Us and then,
  2. For the next 4 minutes (from 12:35 to 16:45), watch this Ted Talk: “The Transformative Power of Classic Music“.

Or if you don’t have 14 minutes, jump Step 1 and move to Step 2.


And here’s a few excerpts that lead into the punch line:

Q: When can you remember a time when you played music for somebody and it had a profound change on what was going on around them?

Benjamin Zander: It’s hard for me to remember a time when I played music when it didn’t have that effect on people because that’s the given. I consider music to be a transformational experience. Mendelssohn said that music is a much more precise language than words. And when you think how easily we misunderstand words, and God knows there is enough evidence of that at this time. Music speaks directly to the heart. It speaks through the molecules. It is irresistible…

All the emotions that human beings are capable of feeling can be represented in music. It’s the music that generates the emotion that releases the human experience. It doesn’t go through the brain. It goes through the molecules…

It’s one thing to hear it in your earphones alone. It is quite another to hear it in a concert hall with 2000 other people who are all experiencing it together, and whose reaction and spontaneous enthusiasm at the end is part of the experience…

And on a tour, when you go from one town to another, you have the sense that people come out of the concerts with a different feeling about life, with a different perspective and with a different sense of being. And that’s why we do it and keep doing it and keep doing it. And as I approach my 80th birthday I have no intention to stop doing it at any point. It’s my life blood. That’s where I get my joy from. It’s the sense that people’s lives are really transformed.

Q: You play this piece by Chopin, but first you ask everyone to do something.

Zander: Yes. “Would you think of somebody who you adore, who’s no longer there. A beloved grandmother. A lover. Somebody in your life who you love with all your heart. But that person is no longer with you. Bring that person into your mind and at the same time follow that long line from B to E and you’ll hear everything that Chopin had to say.

(Now for the next 4 minutes from 12:35 to 16:45, watch this Ted Talk: “The Transformative Power of Classic Music“)


Photo of Benjamin Zander

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Music— organized by melody, harmony, but sometimes we’re most struck by the mass of sound, the absurd (intellectually speaking) accumulation of noises, the magnificent, physically compelling actualization of the instruments’ power— as sometimes in Bruckner we feel the bows vibrating, the cellos’ heavy hair swimming alongside the bass cry of the trumpets and trombones, sometimes in Wagner, or more recently, in the first movement of Henryk Gorecki’s Third Symphony, when slow as the dawn, the orchestra’s cocoon unfolds— or, a different metaphor, we can imagine the hull of a massive ship emerging, slowly, from the mist. This incredibly sensual, palpable wall of sound stirs our entire body, but remains unseen. And perhaps it’s precisely this contrast— between overwhelming presence and invisibility— that moves us, leads us, momentarily, to another world, another way of being that we can only visit.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (April 4, 2017)


Notes:

  • Photo: janae (@janaeture)  (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Related Posts: Adam Zagajewski

 

A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder

Jóhann Jóhannsson, 47, was born in Reykjavík, Iceland. He has been composing music for a wide array of media including theatre, dance, TV and films. His stately, slow-building and hauntingly melodic music, frequently combines electronics with classical orchestrations, has been quietly bewitching listeners since he released his first genre defining solo record Englabörn in 2002. (Find him on Facebook and iTunes)

the great bull with its fierce eye, its head raised, its four hooves planted on the summit, at the edge of the abyss

beethoven-1987-andy-warhol

In painting his portrait, I paint that of his stock — our century, our dream, ourselves and our companion with the bleeding feet: Joy. Not the gross joy of the soul that gorges itself in its stable, but the joy of ordeal, of pain, of battle, of suffering overcome, of victory over one’s self, the joy of destiny subdued, espoused, fecundated… And the great bull with its fierce eye, its head raised, its four hooves planted on the summit, at the edge of the abyss, whose roar is heard above the time. […]

If he cannot do this in the world of facts, he wills it in the world of art; everything becomes for him a field on which to deploy the battalions of his thoughts, his desires, his regrets, his furies, his melancholies. […]

The hammer is not all: the anvil also is necessary. Had destiny descended only upon some weakling, or on an imitation great man, and bent his back under this burden, there would have been no tragedy in it, only an everyday affair. But here destiny meets one of its own stature, who “seizes it by the throat,” who is at savage grips with it all the night till the dawn — the last dawn of all — and who, dead at last, lies with his two shoulders touching the earth, but in his death is carried victorious on his shield; one who out of his wretchedness has created a richness, out of his infirmity the magic wand that opens the rock.

~ Romain Rolland, on Beethoven’s struggle with his loss of hearing at 28 in Beethoven the Creator

 


Notes:

Hail Mary


Music video by Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott performing Ave Maria (J.S. Bach/ Gounod)

Don’t like Classical? Lower form than Animal.


A zoo in Belgium has released amazing footage which seems to show their elephants swaying in time to live classical music.

Árstíðir


Árstíðir (English: Seasons) is an Icelandic indie-folk band with classical, progressive rock and minimalist elements. The band formed in 2008 in Reykjavík.

Árstíðir became known to a wider internet audience in 2013 when a viral YouTube video showed them performing impromptu, Heyr himna smiður (“Hear, Smith of heavens”, a 13th-century Icelandic hymn) at a train station in Wuppertal, Germany. Don’t miss this Youtube video (with ~ 4,000,000 views) here: Heyr himna smiður

Find the band’s website here: arstidir.com

This tune will be found on the band’s new album to be released in March, 2015: Hvel


Background Source: Wiki

Sunday Morning: People are religious or not, but


Lisa Batiashvili, the 35-year-old Georgian violinist who is this season’s artist in residence with the New York Philharmonic and will perform Barber’s Violin Concerto with that orchestra this week, is an eloquent musician. In concert and on award-winning recordings, she has captivated critics and audiences with her natural elegance, silky sound and the meticulous grace of her articulation. There is a laserlike directness to her playing that enables her to transmit concentrated emotions without a trace of affectation or theatrics: the musical equivalent to laparoscopic surgery.

In conversation, Ms. Batiashvili exhibits many of the same qualities. Soft-spoken but determined, she speaks as openly about the political responsibilities of an artist as she does about her personal relationship to Bach’s music — the subject of her latest recording and of coming performances with the Philharmonic — and the unhealthy obsession of the violin world with the instruments of Antonio Stradivari…

Ms. Batiashvili said it took time and experimentation for her to feel ready to record Bach. When she did, she said, “something spiritual happened to me — people are religious or not, but Bach makes you believe in something for sure.

~ Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim on Lisa Batiashvili on Violins, Ukraine and Valery Gergiev


Lisa Batiashvili, 35, is a Georgian violinist, the daughter of a violinist father and a pianist mother. Her father was her first teacher from age 4. In 1995, she was a prize winner in the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition. Batiashvili and her oboist husband François Leleux, reside in France with their two children. She plays the 1709 Engleman Stradivarius on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Riding Metro North. With Massenet.

42nd-new-york-city

I’m on the first train. I’m with my commuters deep into the morning papers. The silence is broken for three short intervals – the conductor collecting tickets and two stops on the Express. Otherwise, a library. 55 minutes of heaven.

Yet, the silence is thundering.

EBOLA. Mid-term elections. School shootings. Shooting rampage in the Canadian Parliament. Ukraine. Work-budget-goals. Man attacks NYC cops with a hatchet. Markets tumbling. Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Hong Kong protesters. Millions of air bag recalls. Stepfather Charged After 3-Year-Old Girl Beaten to Death at Brooklyn Shelter. OMG. Turn the page. Turn the page. Turn the page. Unable to find something Good, I put away the news, close my eyes, lean my head against the window and drift into Grand Central.

I twist in my ear buds, first right and then left. I exit the train to 42nd street with hundreds of early morning commuters.

Zibby introduces Jesse to classical music in Liberal Arts; DK had no such Muse. Yet, the impact is no less Divine. The biting winds of darkness and doubt whistling through the skull are placed on Pause. My 12-minute cross-town walk is filled with ethereal beauty, a peace, a calmness, a lightness. The delivery trucks. The yellow cabs, honey bees buzzing in and out. The shop owner opening the gate. A construction worker taking a long pull on his cigarette. A student sipping coffee in an empty Diner. The leaves on a lonely tree rustling from the gust of a passing bus. All of it, a symphony. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning Coffee


Topology is quintet from Australia formed in 1997. They perform throughout Australia and abroad and have to date released four albums. Find their album on iTunes here: Difference Engine


%d bloggers like this: