Saturday, December 26, 2009

With stammering lips and insufficient sound
I strive and struggle to deliver right
That music of my nature . . .
This song of soul I struggle to outbear
Through portals of the sense, sublime and whole,
And utter all myself into the air . . .

-- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
(from The Things That Matter,
edited by Julia Neuberger)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It is the duty of the composer to serve his fellow man, to beautify human life and point the way to a radiant future. Such is the immutable code of the artist as I see it.

-- Sergei Prokofiev
(in Notations: Quotations on Music,
edited by Sallye Leventhal)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The world is no more
than the Beloved's single face;
In the desire of the One
to know its own beauty, we exist.

Each place, each moment,
sings its particular song
of not-being and being.
Without reason, the clear glass
equally mirrors
wisdom and madness.

-- Ghalib
(from The Enlightened Heart,
edited by Stephen Mitchell)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Music rises on a scale or ladder: Its base level is just the notes, and many time-beaters can manage that. The next level is sensuous beauty, and there are conductors who have specialized in making the music as aurally attractive as possible. But above that there is a level of emotional power, music that compels. And yet above that, there is the moment that some few conductors achieve, of what you might call spiritual reckoning, where not only your head and heart are engaged but opened up and you can hear something transcendent.

-- Richard Nilsen
(from a review, "Guest Conductor Plays Safe with Schubert,"
in The Arizona Republic, May 4, 2008)