Listening to Orpheus (3)
This is my curious and slightly miraculous turn of attention to an archetype deeply rooted in all of us – Orpheus. The father of music and poetry, the one who lived in communion with nature and learned his art by listening to the language of the trees. The ultimate poet-seer, the musician whose song charmed death himself. What was it that Orpheus actually experienced, that made his creative expression so unique and powerful ?
The song of life…
I am inviting everybody to follow me on this journey into the underworld. The journey Orpheus undertook once when he followed his Beloved. It is going to be a an excursion through the wooded, bird-filled pastoral beauty of poetry, the scenic landscapes of snowy mountaintops and lush valleys that is music and – not to forget, the gleaming and formidable cities, that are the abode of of science.
In his masterclass, Daniel Barenboim is teaching the young Chinese pianist Lang Lang the art of transforming the experience of following Beethoven into the depth of infinity into his key strokes. In order not to get lost – structure and intention are important, so the language of music can be immediate and pure.
“You must believe that you can actually make the crescendo on one note”, Daniel Barenboim says at some point – and the young pianist-machine Lang Lang fully gets it. Let the vibratory power of music guide you, but never lose sight of your own intention and purpose.
Beethoven gave up the sense of hearing to be able to listen to Orpheus’ singing in the depth of his own being. The 32 piano sonatas are a witness of this journey into the underworld and to the ground of being.
This is what Rilke pointed out already in the first of his sonnets. This is what happens if one is listening to Orpheus.
….And where there had been
at most a makeshift hut to receive the music,
a shelter nailed up out of their darkest longing,
with an entryway that shuddered in the wind-
you built a temple deep inside their hearing.”
And to end this excursion about structure, strategy and attention to one’s own intention in order not to get lost, but to fully experience and express the awe-inspiring ride on the waves of Beethoven’s passion, the 3rd movement of the “Appassionata”, played by Daniel Barenboim himself:
…and for good measure – Glenn Gould – whose intention would not kowtow before etiquette and rules. Enjoy