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Spontaneity and art
Alexander Gow, musician in the band Oh Mercy on spontaneity of artistic creation: [Spontaneity is] when art is expression, and that’s what I’m interested in. If, like you said, there’s a spontaneity to it and it’s an extension of a certain kind of moment or feeling, and if you’re clever enough to express that through […]
The soul and speech
“There is no real teacher who in practice does not believe in the existence of the soul, or in a magic that acts on it through speech.” Allan Bloom (1987) The closing of the American mind: How higher education has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today’s students.  New York: Simon Simon and Schuster, […]
You cannot hope for substance
“You cannot set art off in a corner and hope for it to have vitality, reality, and substance.” – Charles Ives, American composer
A noisy neighbour
The Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev was evicted from his lodgings on several occasions on account of the noise which accompanied his endeavors. Eventually he stopped composing at the piano, using it only to test certain harmonic combinations. This practice proved adequate until his work was interrupted one day by the arrival of a policeman: “You […]
Paper and matches for maintenance
When Spanish cellist Pablo Casals was in his seventies, he retired from the concert stage and lived in Prades, Southern France. Casals began each day by playing from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier on the piano (1), then heading out for a walk with his German shepherd, cocking an ear for birdsong and saluting the snow-capped peak […]
Hilary Hahn on the “story” behind the music
I think the back stories [behind the creation of a work] are interesting … But for me the first aim is to look at the notes, and see how I might interpret them … No offence to the media, but I’ve seen stories told about people I know – and about me – that are […]
I dream …
“I dream, therefore I exist.” —August Stringberg, A Madman’s Defence (Le plaidoyer d’un fou)
Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. – Alexander Graham Bell Orison Swett Marden, (1901) “Bell Telephone Talk”, How They Succeeded. Boston: Lothrop Publishing Company, p. 38. Digitally archived at, accessed 11 September 2021.
The essence of music
I believe that there is no one the world so insensitive, so leaden, that he is not moved by song. Theophrastus rightly said in the second book concerning music that the essence of music is the movement of the soul, driving away the evils and troubles that have invaded it. If music did not have […]
Maiky’s recording of Bach’s cello suites
“The Latvian cellist Mischa Maisky recorded the Bach’s cello suites “at a small guest house he converted into a studio and called Sarabande, he had a fence built around it with all the notes of the fifth sarabande crafted on the metalwork.  He gleefully points out that the studio’s address is 720, his Montagnana cello […]