By Jerry Alatalo
“The great artist is the simplifier.”
HENRI FREDERIC AMIEL (1821-1881) Swiss philosopher
he smile on the face of this beautiful young Syrian girl in the audience listening to the Mariinsky Orchestra performing classical music in Palmyra, Syria perhaps says much more than humans can adequately describe. The concert provided some greatly appreciated and needed relief, joy and renewed hope for the future of her and her friends together to enjoy the sounds of musical instruments – instead of guns and bombs.
Others who view the event and listen to the grand, exquisite, moving performances may become reminded of scenes from the popular movie “Shawshank Redemption”, in particular those in the film where the character/prisoner played by actor Tim Robbins was able to blare Italian classical music to his fellow prisoners throughout the facility, similar to what occurred in Palmyra, and allowing some much-needed spiritual peace and psychological relief to his fellow inmates, now his friends. After (5) years of horrific war imposed upon the nation by paid mercenary terrorists from outside Syria, one could in a sense consider the entire population as serving a long, misery-laced collective prison sentence, and now praying for release.
What was also striking about the Palmyra concert was the natural setting amidst the ancient ruins, scenes of the bombed-out city from the air, and how “ordinary” – how much like all men and women on Earth – the musicians and people in the audience looked. One senses the musicians were fully, seriously aware of each making their performances a shared effort at delivering to Syrians, people of the Middle East and humanity a profound, powerful, effective artistic message of peace.
For any person on Earth who appreciates genuine actions focused on creating peace in regions suffering the unimaginably difficult, nightmarish consequences of insane wars and violence, it would be hard to fail in noticing anything but that the message had become, thank the Creator/God, delivered.
It could be said the musicians in the orchestra, here and now in the year 2016, sent an unambiguous message to the entirety of humanity that weapons of peace – musical instruments – are the far, far superior, clearly moral choice and not guns and bombs that kill, maim, psychologically/spiritually shatter and destroy the lives of fellow members of the human family.
“Music is a higher revelation than philosophy.”
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) German composer
“The artist appeals to the part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom; to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition – and therefore, more permanently enduring. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives; to our sense of pity, and beauty and pain…
…art itself may be defined as a single-minded attempt to render the highest kind of justice to the visible universe, by bring to light the truth, manifold and one, underlying its every aspect.
…All art therefore, appeals primarily to the senses, and the artistic aim when expressing itself in written words must also make its appeal through the senses, if its high desire is to reach the responsive spring of responsive emotions. It must strenuously aspire to the plasticity of sculpture, to the color of painting, and to the magic suggestiveness of music – which is the art of arts.”
JOSEPH CONRAD (1857-1924) Polish-born British writer
“All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.”
WALTER PATER (1839-1894) English man of letters
(Thank you to Sputnik at YouTube)