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Music and the Spirit

Daniel Broniatowski

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Published: October 4, 2015 at 1:06 AM [UTC]

turntableDear readers,

Today's article is about Music and the Spirit. It is written for musicians but music lovers will also very much appreciate the points below.

Have you ever listened to a piece of music and had chills run down your spine? I'm not talking about the bad kind of chills you get from being scared or sick with the flu. Rather, I am speaking of the kind that makes you somehow fully aware of the present moment. There is a recording of Jacqueline Du Pré and Daniel Barenboim playing the Franck Sonata that gets me every time. I first heard this recording on an LP as a teenager and just had to listen to it every night after doing my homework. Something in this music at that time just spoke to me. Later, I found out that this would be Ms. Du Pré's last recording, due to the fact that she was suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Classical music can have this incredible ability to touch us in ways that cannot be described by words. I have experienced the transcendent feeling that verges on the metaphysical through listening to certain pieces and artists. It is as if a part of the artist's or composer's soul is somehow "in sync" with mine.

This is why I believe that the type of music that we listen to is a reflection of who we are fundamentally. This is why I feel so strongly about the music our society chooses to support - emotionally, intellectually, and financially. Ultimately this choice is a reflection of ourselves. One can also even say that the music chooses us based on the inclination of our soul.

So the question that arises is, "What should be the role of the artist in our society?". Many of us musicians recognize that the mere act of playing music, while entertaining to the player and audience, does not always inspire or cause a lasting impression on the listener. For instance, one can have impeccable technique and emote all the feelings and emotions in the world, but the performance may not always inspire the audience over the long-term - particularly an audience not steeped in the classical tradition. Yet, does it matter if the audience is knowledgeable about classical music? I believe that it shouldn't. After all, we are all human beings and in my opinion, classical music should be a universal language for everyone.

I believe that the best artists and musicians have a very personal relationship with the music that they play. This music has a story that the artist/musician understands intuitively. Through his or her interpretation, the performer then inspires the audience, looking not for approval through applause and self-aggrandization, but looking for the recognition that what he or she feels matters to other people too. If the audience relates to this musical story, they will feel the story deeply on an emotional and intellectual level. There is something intensely therapeutic about this process.

Yet, to tie all of the above together, the audience must be receptive to the performance. In any productive conversation, there is a speaker and an listener. We musicians have this innate desire to share. Our audiences have a strong desire to listen. Let's cultivate this relationship in each of our own unique ways and not be afraid to reach out to more and more people who share our values!

I would love to hear your comments below,

Daniel Broniatowski, D.M.A.
Maestro Musicians, LLC
Music to Warm the Heart


Posted on October 10, 2015 at 5:19 AM
This is a really rich topic. I would suggest it is quite complex, involving the composer's intentions, the performer's inspiration, and the influences of all participants - including the magic of the instrument and venue.
My most memorable listening experience was my first Arthur Rubinstein recital (in Omaha NE; second was in Kansas City).
I felt Rubinstein became the reincarnation of every composer. Rubinstein seemed to be utterly transparent, able to convey the full spiritual and emotional message of the music. What more could anyone do?
Stephen Kelley

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