The power of a beautiful song

I enjoy emotional music.  In fact, I’m a sucker for a good soundtrack.  The plot, acting, and special effects might stink to high heaven, but if the movie is scored by John Williams I’ll let it slide.  My cynicism is no match for an evocative weepy violin crescendo.  Consequently, I’ve teared up at the climax of some really awful films.

My wife enjoys exploiting this weakness in me for her own bemusement.  If I’m tearing up in a movie, Jennifer is looking at me with a smile.  I’ll usually turn in her direction and give her a mild rebuke such as “Knock it off” or “Leave me alone.”  I might even attack her emotional disconnectedness.  But who am I kidding, I’m the only one crying in the theater.  I’m the guy who has to wait for the credits to stop rolling so I can regain my composure.

“Come on Dad!  The movie’s over.”

“Just a second, I want to see who the foley artists were for the second production team.”

“Dad, I don’t think cartoons have foley artists.  Do you want a tissue?”

“No, I’m just very happy Wall-e found his way back to earth.  That’s all.”

A beautiful song has the power to pull my fractured self together.  For a brief moment I’m consumed by the melodious sound.  The music seeps past my intellectual defenses, numbs my unsettled mind, and heads straight for the heart.

The best songs allow us to momentarily surrender the troubles of the day.  Like a pleasant vista they give us a place to stop and enjoy a view that is bigger than ourselves.  At least until the music subsides.

Regardless of our scientific advancements, humans will always be a messy amalgamation of intellectual and emotional contradictions.  We simply cannot escape the reality of our wonderfully complex existence.  More than thinking beings, we are feeling beings.  More than living beings, we are spiritual beings.  More than rational beings, we are made to dance!

Philosophers take the joy out of beauty; they turn it into a system.  Poets are lazy, unwilling to follow their musings to their logical conclusion.  Pastors are preachy, they try to convert you with every word.  Columnists have word limits, deadlines, and the propensity to leave the answers for tomorrow’s edition.  Bloggers are undisciplined, they write everything down even if no one needs to read it.

While writing today’s blog I’ve been repeatedly listening to Marjan Mozetich Affairs of the Heart- Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra.  Mozetich’s composition has been the soundtrack to these musings.

Critics have accused Mozetich of being an overly sentimental composer.  His critics may have a point, but I don’t let them in the room when I’m listening to his tear generating masterpiece.  I love the unashamed power of the piece.  It is a joy to hear an artist unapologetically contending for beauty.

Sometimes words are not enough.  Instead of logic, we need a melody.  Instead of a well crafted argument, we need a song.  Not just any song, but I song that honors the soul.  A song that values the complexity of our existence.

As far as I’m concerned, the world needs more artists like Marjan Mozetich.  Individuals willing to create works that allow us to get lost in the joy of living.

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