Please read this astonishing, moving piece by cellist Brinton Smith of the Houston Symphony. This is his address to the board at the end of their season, but it’s much more than that. It’s an essay about music, about being a musician, about being a listener. It’s by turns informative, uplifting, surprising, and inspiring. Working on Ariadne right now made Brinton’s words resonate even more strongly within me. I’ve been searching for a way to talk about this remarkable work, but this essay says what I’d like to and so much more. This quote could be a description of the Composer’s aria at the end of the Prologue:
“Just as Michelangelo quipped that he started with a block of marble and simply removed everything that wasn’t David, so we begin to understand that the composition is not the origin of beauty, but rather that it is making concrete a beauty that already existed unseen in the world. As a performer, you try to capture that essence and share it with the audience, and if you do come close for a moment, it is a feeling of transcendence. You have slipped your earth-bound vision and briefly glimpsed a higher truth, and at that moment you, your ego, your instrument or any of your worldly problems don’t matter..”
There’s so much more in this piece, about classical music all over the world, and about its meaning in our culture, but it’s all rooted in Brinton’s passionate belief that this transcendence is essential to the quality of human life. Please, read it all.