Friday, March 16, 2012

From Our Archives

The Gateway of Music

The impact of music on my own life has, through the years, been highly significant both in terms of my own enjoyment of the arts, but on accessing higher centers which then allow me to experience joy.

A few nights ago I had the pleasure of attending an amazing San Francisco Symphony concert featuring Itzhak Perlman, my favorite violinist, who as a child was stricken with polio and now walks only with braces and crutches. To say that he plays beautifully is an understatement and you would have to hear his soulful tone to truly understand the depth of beauty that sings from his instrument when he plays. The concert opened with a Bach concerto which was precise and focused as Perlman not only was the soloist but also the conductor. Still, it was after the Bach ended and the next piece began, Elgars's Introduction and Allegro for String Orchestra that I remembered for the first time in a long while what it was like to sit in the middle of a magnificant orchestra and play.

When the orchestra is in the groove, it is ecstatic.

This piece by is rich with emotion, fluid, beautiful, deep, poignant. As I listened I found my eyes closing, focused only on the sound of the notes. The beauty of such a piece as this escapes words just as it is difficult to share with words how one feels when seeing a "perfect" work of art. It's personal truth, yes, but it's also so much more than that when music literally sweeps you into something greater than yourself, into love, truth, and ecstacy.  I wanted to dance! Sitting in my chair was limiting. In such a moment as this one, of higher emotional center, the heart opens!

Music does many things of course. Generation "X" has used music to convey anger, rage, and distrust of the older generation just as music of the 60's communicated that love is the way and not war. Each period of music models the theme of the culture during which it was written. Introduction and Allegro, written in 1902, followed the stifling Victorian Period where rules and etiquette supressed emotions and encouraged the listener to feel
just as the later Stravinsky Ballets of 1910 (Firebird), Petrushka (1911) and the progressive Rite of Spring (1913) pushed the listener to feel raw emotions which were usually considered to be socially unacceptable.

Today's music is everywhere: the radio, television, internet, CD's. We listen to popular music which include common themes of love gone wrong, betrayal, independence. Music can be simply for entertainment "value". But my question is what are we really listening to, what is this music of the day? What we "take in" whether it is music, language, or visuals impacts us. In simple words , is it a positive vibration or not?  I encourage you all to become discerning, make choices about what you listen to. Country music may be your thing, or rock, or blues, classics. Pay attention to your emotional reactions. As Sly and the Family Stone said "Music can take you higher".

Question: What music do I choose today?

art: Woman with Cello  Artist unknown

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