Saturday, August 8, 2009

As Near to Infinite as Anything in This World

.Why We Sing, Part VI

As a chorister and as one who writes about choral singing, I’m always interested in understanding more about our communal attraction to the choral arts and to music as a whole. Here’s a compelling statement of faith from eminent program annotator Michael Steinberg, who died just last week.

“…That in the end the only study of music is music, that program notes and pre-concert talks are helpful ways of showing you the door in the wall and of turning on some extra lights, but that the only thing that matters is what happens privately between you and the music. That, as with any other form of falling in love, no one can do it for you, and no one can draw you a map. That listening to music is not like getting a haircut or a manicure, that it is something for you to do. That music, like any worthwhile partner in love, is demanding, sometimes exasperatingly, exhaustingly demanding… That its capacity to give is as near to infinite as anything in this world, and that what it offers us is always and inescapably in exact proportion to what we ourselves give.”

Michael Steinberg, For the Love of Music: Invitations to Listening (2005), p.10

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