Ars long, vita brevis

Isn´t it funny?

We are all in a constant frenzy to get things done. The quicker the better, we most often think…

Yet, there are things which cannot be rushed. Jan Van Eyck is said to have worked
with a portrait for 24 years till he finally considered it ready. Isn´t it overwhelming?…A lifetime.

I have a similar story. I started playing this partita in B-flat major by J.S. Bach sometime
when I was studying at the Music Academy.

It may seem outrageous, but first now, this piece is beginning to come along.
Not that the tones weren´t there before. It was something else missing:
THE UNWAVERING SILENCE BEHIND THE TONES. The inner architecture…

You can work with tones, but how on earth do you work with the silence creating the tone…?

The “invisible” structure of this composition has given me enormous trouble,
I needed this long amount of “time” to render it accurately…Imagine that – 25 years for
a piece to sound right!

I played today in a recital, it is still not the way I want it to be, but it´s finally forthcoming.
Both me and the audience felt that unobtrusive crystalline joy and charming clarity, –  such an immense celebration. A whole life in a quarter of an hour…

Sometimes this feels true:

Ars long, vita brevis – art is long, life too brief.

Culture and conditioning

Culture cannot exist without memory.

Culture means tradition. And tradition?…- It means obsessively repeating certain patterns again and again, thus creating conditioning – that is, ever reinforcing the past.
Culture is time. As we want to ensure our survival, we see time as continuity and possession, and so we create – among other peculiarities – “classical music”.

So basically it all boils down to this: the “classical” versus this very moment…

Is this very moment “classical”? Hardly ever… Does the moment need to have continuation and become “classical”? No it doesn´t – unless we start to categorize it. All problems arise when we start “classifying” the moment.

What´s more important? The child – taking some nonsensical tones on a piano –, or a symphony by Beethoven? If we are sane, we wouldn´t give a damn about Beethoven´s music and rejoice in those few tones of the child.

It is all about this: a child tinkling – which is the metaphor for the joy of Now – or Beethoven which means tradition. Tradition versus now. Tradition killing us systematically…
Beethoven´s music (tradition) suffocating our Soul (our graceful Now)…

WE TRANSFORM THE MOMENT INTO “CLASSICAL” BEFORE IT HAS A CHANCE TO BE ALIVE. Living is therefore “possessing” for most humans, that´s why they are afraid of Now. Most people have no real life, due to being possessed by the culture they are part of…

So yes, in this perspective, – with few exceptions like Prokofiev, Stravinsky or Scriabin – I find Western music from Bach on, incredibly tedious and redundant. The heart beats now, and our entrenched perception turns this Now into preposterous abstraction. And of course, ABSTRACTION IS HEARTLESS as it tries to reach the timeless through thought patterns.

The intention is positive yet the outcome disastrous.

To make my point:

A great zen flute player was once invited to perform at the court of some Chinese Emperor. So there was the musician in the front of the noble audience. He takes his flute, blows one single tone, bows and leaves. Nobody heard from him ever since. .

About simplicity and quintessence

In response to my post that “Simplicity is complex” Richard comments:

No!
Only the point of view concerning simplicity makes it complex. Simplicity itself is simple.

Me:

Do you have any idea how many hours – or days even – it takes to write a simple melody?
There is nothing wrong with complexity as long as it is quintessential.

Richard:

No, I’ve no idea how long it takes to write a simple melody. But this is only psychological time :-) . It should come out of you without the use of your brain. Just from your heart and soul. Is this realistic? What do you think?

Well, I got my problems with classical music within this concern. It is often so highly complex that it’s harmony is suffering. I miss the coziness (the german word Gemütlichkeit would fit much better) within that type of music. Maybe it’s because it’s so highly sophisticated.

Me:

My thought goes to Beato Angelico – they say he was meditating and praying before starting to paint.

When it comes to composing – for that matter this applies to all “serious” creative pursuit – it is of course also a great toil alongside with inspiration…to hone, to take away, to find quintessential clarity. Think of Michelangelo carving like a fury in the icy marble…

Undoubtedly, you have the clear vision, but labour is a fact. It is the same whenever I write a text, like now… – I feel the ongoing inspiration which motivates my writing, but sometimes
it´s a hell of a job to put the right “contingent” words…so you can create the easiness and flow you´re talking about.

You are right though about the “Gemütlichkeit” in classical music – although I write at times
complex stuff -, I aspire towards a soothing simplicity, I endeavour to create that kind of pure enchanting harmony you are talking about.

Be alive, be imperfect

I have to say that many times the music of Mozart goes on my nerves. It is too consonant. It is somehow “too harmonious”.

With all due respect for consonance, but consonance without its counterpart, dissonance, is hell. Dissonances are more intriguing, more alive, more interesting than “pure sounds”. When something is “perfect”, what else can you add? Nothing…Thus, Consonance is a dead-end, as it doesn´t point to any further possibilities.

Consequently, whatever is “right” bores me to death. The wrong, the dissonant, the disharmonious is far more interesting and promising than all “unshakable truths” of whatever it is stated as harmony.

Mistakes are many times a blessing in disguise. Mistake – as it is “imperfect” – can point to something more truthful, more real than all endeavours for perfection. The “mistaken” can grow, the perfect can´t, as it is already dead.

Beauty without asymmetry is pure hell. “Perfect beauty” is the nightmare of bourgeois aesthetics which create more chaos and disorder than anything else, as it refuses to recognize the darkness and inherent chaos in all things.

The ugly, the “chaotic” is many times more interesting and alive and expressive than the “beautiful”.

“Perfect beauty” is the perfect expression for a sumptuous Cemetery. Imagine a beautiful, totally flawless woman. If there is nothing wrong with her, an asymmetry or a minor defect, she is nothing more than a magnificent metaphor for death.

Humanity´s nightmare is the pursuing of the “perfect”. “Be perfect as our Father in Heaven”. No kidding?…

What a disgusting and misleading “truth” invented by impotent dorks that has destroyed many peoples´ life. What perfection are we talking about, when if you look closely at life, life is vulnerable and eternally “imperfect”.

Everything real is a dance between chaos and order, between consonance and dissonance. Dissonance creates consonance, and consonance needs its counterpart.

Life is a glorious blend of beauty and ugliness.

Only the dead are perfect, the alive is eternally imperfect!

So I tell you, be imperfect, be alive!

A funny episode

Yesterday around noon, I was having my daily coffee. At the café, in front me some Romanians, speaking rather loudly. It was quite an entertaining show watching them.
At some point, one of the women answered her phone. “AH, MARINELA IS ON THE PHONE, please talk to her”,
said she, giving brusquely the telephone to her husband.

I couldn´t hold myself from laughing. Witnessing this episode I thought of Marinela, a pianist friend I hadn´t seen since october last year. So hearing her name in that discussion, I thought that Marinela is likely to show up 🙂

Perfectly right sign interpretation! It didn´t take 20 minutes, till Marinela ACTUALLY came by.

She laughed too, hearing this unaccountable episode.

However, she was in her usual restlessness, talking and worrying incessantly, like a whirligig. She was complaining that classical music is dead. But that is another story…

Isn´t life a delightful farce sometimes…?

Imagine if it was that simple to hear someone talk about one million bucks, and ten minutes later, this money to be landing in your hand.

That would be quite something, wouldn´t be…? Impossible you say…? Maybe…or maybe not… 🙂

The creative force behind form

It is absolutely amazing to receive evidence for what I “suspected” a long time :

If you want to create something of real value, – a piece of art, a project, a collaboration or whatever, –  you have to start building first the energy from which that particular thing evolves.

In other words, you “build up” the vision before creating the actual thing.

When I say “vision”, it is not a mere word. It is a force, a vivid reality, a felt energy seen at first with the eyes of the soul, becoming manifest when its inner body is shining through in clear shape within you.

It is this very force which is behind the greatest works of art, behind all real endeavours and successful achievements.

To illustrate my point, if an orchestra or interpret tries to play – let´s say Beethoven – without “understanding” this underlying reality, the outcome will be a total failure, as it usually is. That is why, classical music like most of our human endeavours, have become devoid of meaning, due to the absence of this magic flow.

I repeat, Meaning is the presence of this timeless, secret energy.

Somehow, aware or not, the founders of known brands, have known and worked with this magic creative force which makes the brand worthwhile.

When people buy a Louis Vuitton bag, or a Rolls Royce, it is not the bag or car they are paying dearly for, but the energy deriving from it. This is certainty, not speculation.

This energy is “heard” and attract other people, when you come in touch with it. This is the key to whatever successful action.

This is in fact, the very Thing every human being consciously or unconsciously is striving for.