Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Perfect music

Let's have an encore!
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
Must be the fact that after another drowned day the sun has come out - too late to do more than lift the spirits, but welcome for all that - which has me wanting to write something about the joyous concert I attended last week at the Edinburgh Festival. Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI performed music from the Golden Age of viol music, between 1500 & 1700, in a concert which fulfilled all my criteria for perfection. As the programme note put it,
the process of group music-making mimicked the construction of Renaissance societies: each player performed a distinct role in the consort, and the group came together to explore the range of human emotion and experience. The consort was thus a microcosm of society.
I found this fascinating, for to me the experience of the morning was total: as they played, there was nothing else - no thought, no physical awareness - that was outwith the music. It was only when they finished a set of pieces and the audience burst into applause that I realised I had a smile on my face, and I could no more have prevented that smile than I could have stopped listening. The music was played to perfection - the light, lifting rhythm, the total absorption of each player, the intonation, the wonderful flourishes of improvisation...

It doesn't work, putting it in words, any more than it does with any other total experience. But the kind of unity of purpose and spirit that was palpable at this concert is something we find only rarely - and something that we dream of finding again.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful description of what is basically in-explicable....the power of music.

    Every time I've been to a concert, I always feel that I have to go home and compose a symphony, or piano concerto, or oratorio.....if only it were so easy!