The maniac moment of music

The maniac moment of music

The maniac moment of music


My experience as a conductor has put this strange idea in my head. I hope one day I will apply it in practice. Yet, it would be an unusual act that goes against the etiquette for the conductor’s public performance. Imagine the conductor leaving the orchestra at the start of the concert and taking a seat in the audience to listen to the music. I feel many people would smile ironically at this idea… So, we would have a situation where the conductor would simply withdraw and put all the responsibility for the performance on the orchestra. What would this be called? A farce? We are all familiar with the basic principles of conducting. The audience and the orchestra expect to see a leader, especially when performing intricate concert programmes.


And yet…


I often ask myself, “What is the purpose of my profession? How I personally relate to it?” My mind quickly starts producing endless arguments to confidently prove the rationality of my choice. However, logical reasoning does not necessarily lead to the ultimate truth.


The heart is always right. Thus, I should put all the sets of pros and cons aside and delve into the depths of the heart to get that one ultimate answer. Especially when it comes to the profession the main goal of which is to give shape to music and reveal its innermost essence. I do not claim objectivity. I simply seek to explore the authenticity in me.


I know perfectly well that if I am not able to hear the silence resounding in my heart, I will be incapable of listening to the sound of music. If I cannot hear that innermost sound, I cannot offer the musicians and the audience anything more than a specialist knowledge of music scores, nice hand gestures, or even phrasing that is pleasing to the ear, etc … A true musicianship lies beyond the veil of music scores, it is an ever-hidden beauty that awakens souls. Without a heart that is able to listen humbly, there is a danger of becoming an ordinary pathetic music practitioner who is glorified for its well marketed brand. It is amazing how superficial this profession can become …


My heart tells me that conducting should not be merely a craft. The mind should bow before Her Hidden Majesty, the Heart, which is the true source of musicianship. Behold! The self-serving “Me” is not the source of music. Music is not part of my ego. Music does not serve the purpose of self-glorification. Music is not part of the world of human interests. It is from Beyond. It is the gift of God. It is that magic moment we experience.


People might say it sounds too poetic. And yet …


Just remember how music (the art of muses!) was described by the forefathers of our culture. It was regarded as the state of sacred obsession called mania.


Both the audience and the musicians are yearning, always subconsciously, for THAT rare moment during the concert where the innermost strings of their consciousness are touched by the muses as if descending from the high vault of the auditorium. When the unearthly nature of music is experienced and the heart starts fluttering and resounding in unity with the divine harmony. That moment the conductor’s gestures become meaningless. They become void as music itself realizes its perfect sound of Eternity.


It is the moment of a perfect ensemble. In that mania moment, the conductor steps aside and lets the Creator take over. Just as the Creator, who, while creating the world, admired all that he had made “and behold, it was very good”, the conductor simply dwells respectfully in the sea of music without any additional efforts.


Let’s be frank. It is difficult to admit how small we are … in the face of this awe-inspiring greatness.


I must admit I still rarely experience those blissful moments when muses take hold. The creation of a perfect ensemble demands intense and joint efforts. It is always the Way paved with humility of the heart, readiness to serve and immense patience. This is the answer – ad se ipsum – to the question of conducting.


When my ego finally breaks into pieces, I abandon the center to become just a listener in the audience. Let the Music and its Creator take the stage.


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