Friday, March 3, 2017

Life, Meaning of

I think a lot of musicians might agree that while the "meaning of life" cannot be put into so many words, despite that fine Monty Python movie, it is very likely that it can be played, or sung. I say this because a good musical performance, by a soloist, chamber group or orchestra, with or without singers, just seems to embody or represent in some mysterious way, what life should be: a deeply engaging activity that captures, suggests or realizes the fundamental currents of life. These are things like joy, sorrow, delight, melancholy, energy, despair, humor and on and on and on. Life itself is often tiresome or awkward, but a good musical performance never is.

This odd thought came to me the other night when I was watching a clip on YouTube of Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting a young orchestra in the last movement of the Symphony No. 5 by Sibelius. It occurred to me that, yes, this was a pretty good metaphor for life in the best sense: a group of people, furiously but precisely engaged in a collaborative effort that was touching, glorious and beautiful. Heck, let's just have a listen. This is the Verbier Festival Orchestra:


Will Wilkin said...

Such a beautiful performance of such a beautiful piece! I love the rapidity of the opening strings and then, as if coming into a clearing in the woods, the winds with the slow motif. Sibelius really shows us the meaning of life is found in the countryside!

Bryan Townsend said...

You are so right!