In praise of a well-honed symphony

Brain Dropping #110

Human Endeavor.   I remember the words of General George S. Patton as spoken by the actor George C. Scott in the movie “Patton”:  “Gentlemen, compared to war all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance!”  I beg to differ with the lunatic General!  For me, the incomparable form of human endeavor is the ensemble playing of a well-honed symphony orchestra – no contest!  In terms of the collective heart beat, subliminal communication, preternaturally precise timing, the life-force of the organic whole coming together, playing with pin-point accuracy under the baton of  an extraordinary maestro – the symphony orchestra, of over a hundred exquisitely talented players, defies belief.
Google: “You Tube, Sibelius’ 2nd Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic, under the baton of Leonard Bernstein” and you’ll see exactly what I mean – but wear headphones.  The great glory of the internet is being able to hear AND see these orchestras at work.  Or Google: “You Tube Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capricio Espagnol under the direction of Zubin Mehta” for more of the same.  Or click here: for a perfortmance of Respighi’s “Pine of Rome” by the Gimnazia Kranj High School of Slovenia – and hold onto your hat!
These ensembles go beyond the notes on the written page in the realization of the composers intent.There is something metaphysical about the capacity of human beings of all different characteristics, inclinations, emotional states, ages, sexes, ethnic backgrounds to surrender the self to the collective nervous system in the service of making  glorious sound.

The great pianist and conductor, Daniel Barenboim has long recognized the unifying power of music in bringing together disparate, and conflicted peoples.  In the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, he has brought together musicians from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Turkey and Spain to further undermine General Patton’s mad assertions about war.  Google: ” You Tube Maurice Ravel’s Rapsodie Espagnol – The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim.”  After a few minutes of listening, the feeling of the unity of all humankind will be palpable.


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