Friday, November 06, 2015

We are born in mystery, live in mystery, and die in mystery



Why Bruno Walter's Mozart should exert such a magnetic hold is a mystery. His performance style is politically incorrect, his recordings predate the digital age by decades, and his reputation has never 'benefited' from the wonders of modern marketing. But do we actually need to understand the mystery behind the magnetic power captured on that 1930s archive footage of him conducting the Berlin Philharmonic? Should we not simply accept, as the polymath Huston Smith has told us, that: "We are born in mystery, we live in mystery, and we die in mystery". Early next week there will be an extended post here about the mysterious power of music to uplift and unite. After that On An Overgrown Path will fall silent for a while as I travel again in those regions where the digital has not yet totally supplanted the magical.

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3 comments:

Philip Amos said...

Yes, in many areas I think we should accept that, Bob. That's why I almost wrote a response to your earlier question about what makes a conductor great, but let the wiser part of my brain prevail and didn't. I shall be looking forward greatly to that coming extended post, for I have been rather preoccupied recently with thoughts of music and self-affirmation, another facet of the same mystery. That is something that first occurred to me after listening to various, and many, recordings of Sibelius' Fifth some years back, but in recent days going through the same exercise with Elgar's First. A vital matter for music therapists, I must think, though also for us all.

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

Wishing you safe travels . . .

. . . and, being a music therapist, hoping Philip Amos sends you a link if he writes up his thoughts on music and self-affirmation (clicking on his name above doesn't lead anywhere).

Pliable said...

This article by Terry Teachout is relevant to this post, particularly Walter's reference to the music of Bruckner as "“a bridge to transcendental regions" - https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/bruno-walters-way/

While this earlier post by me is also auspiciously but erroneously relevant - http://www.overgrownpath.com/2015/04/bruno-walters-conducting-is-real.html