Hello friends and all lovers of music.
Did you know that at the height of the Cold War between Russia and the USA, a twenty-three-old American pianist, Van Cliburn, won the top prize in Moscow at the first international Tschaikowsky piano competition?
Nikita Khrushchev awarded the prize on the urging of musicians and staff at the great Moscow Conservatory who claimed Cliburn was the best of everyone in the competition. Khruschev and Cliburn actually became friends and the impact of music on the world stage was noted by many throughout the world. You can see and hear about this by clicking below.
Van Cliburn, Moscow, 1958
See what I mean? The power of music brought these two countries closer together when nothing else seemed to be working. Music is meaningful and helpful in many ways, but we tend to forget that and dismiss its impact in major discussions. Why?
To experience music, we are not required to memorize musical details or study a grammar. To enjoy music, we aren’t required to pass exams or to articulate how the music pleases or displeases us. We are not obligated to compose music. Music is always just there for us, as is, in all its genres and forms. Each of us can interpret any musical experience in our own way.
Whether the music be Dixieland or electronic-avantgarde; the arresting theme music from Jaws or the “Pomp and Circumstance March” at graduations; or anything else, we readily experience music and feel its affects.
One example for me is the opening music from my favorite Sci-fi movie, 2001 a Space Odyssey. I was glued to my seat when in a triumphal moment, pre-historic man threw up a new weapon, an animal bone, amid the drums and orchestral oomph of Richard Strauss.
And I was mesmerized just after this, when that bone, high in the sky, transformed into a spaceship amid a waltz(!), the “Blue Danube,” no less, from the other Strauss. What a message–but nary a word–all in music! Listen to a performance of the first part here: 2001, A Space Odyssey-opening music
In my book LIFT: The Rise of M-L-M, we see how music comes to the rescue and plays an ever more important role as humanity struggles to create the optimum language for our species.
Please give me an example of how music has affected you. What musicians or performers influence you? Is there a particular piece of music that moved you and still does? What music saddened you? Made you happy? Scared you? Overwhelmed you? I’m interested in all kinds of examples, simple or profound.
Thank you everyone. My best to all.