What does Classical Music mean to me? For me, classical music is one of the most profound forms of communication. I believe that one of the ways that God communicates to us is through music. Things that cannot be expressed through language can be communicated through music. It is His special way of communicating to those who are receptive to it.
Classical music has a special way of transforming and transcending human emotions into a thing of beauty and divine communication. Even the negative emotions of fear and anger seem to have a way of being transformed into something else entirely. Shostakovich comes to mind when I think of how what seem to be emotions of sadness, fear, frustration, anger etc. are transformed into something that is ultimately beautiful and profound. And when positive emotions of love, joy, and peace are expressed through music the result can be a glimpse of heaven on earth.
Classical music often seems to go beyond what we can fully comprehend and I think that is part of the reason it is revered by some and dismissed by others as incomprehensible or boring (I think we often classify as boring things we don’t understand).
If classical music is dying, I think that it is ultimately our reluctance to go too far beyond the technical and theoretical when preparing for performance that is causing this to happen. Probably because of our Western culture that tends to avoid or distain religion and respect only what can be proved through the scientific method, we have gradually been reducing our music making and study to that of relying on theoretical analysis and technical examination in order to produce our interpretations.
For classical music to communicate to an audience, it needs receptivity on the part of the musicians to the spirit of the music and an acceptance of the fact that we are dealing with something far more meaningful than what we understand from our theoretical and musicological study and our technical manipulation of instruments and voices. If we are to afraid to look for more of the spirit, the indefinable, and the profound in the music we are performing, we ultimately reduce our music making to pretty sounds with carefully planned dynamics and tone colors but ultimately say and express nothing.
Violinist.com editor Laurie Niles wraps up her coverage of the 2013 Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies, held at The Juilliard School in New York.
Ingrid Popp is from St. Louis, Missouri. Biography
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