If I had to explain (Western) music in two words, I would say that it consists of two poles : tension / relaxation. Tension can take on a thousand different aspects and this is what some Wagner, Debussy, Liszt, Beethoven or Boulez have tried to make evolve by leaving the harmonic scheme to explore timbres, dynamics, sounds... In classical language, the tension arises between the fundamental note (first note of the scale) and the dominant (fifth note of the scale). Between one and the other, a prefect fifth. Like a tense arc, when you are on the dominant, however dominant it may be, you aspire more than ever to return to the tonic (fundamental note) to release this tension. The so-called sensitive note, the seventh one of the scale, actually has an immense power to arouse all this attraction, to generate asperity between the first and the seventh note and to invite the resolution of the chord with unprecedented force. From this sensitive note are born all the harmonic richness, all the colors and all the reliefs. Without it, a platitude would quickly take hold.
From black to white, the drawers know it, any landscape, any face, any shape, come to life until they become real by the value of a millimeter of pencil stroke. The subtlety lies in the infinite palette that separates white from black and in the way they meet... Beyond these harmonic poles, polyphonies of timbres, nuances, rhythms and even silences have been created over the centuries ! Relief is up to so little. Shifting one step is already a different way of looking at the entire world - one's world. If the pianist evolves between the black and white keys, he develops perhaps even more the art - and consciousness - of the incessant paradoxes that run through a life. To separate them, to put one category on the fringe and to put the other, properly aligned, is to kill music ! We are born out of nothingness and this nothingness gives the whole perspective of our incarnation. Yet there are many ways to live its paradoxes : struggle or embrace.
"WHATEVER YOU RESIST PERSISTS"* *Arnaud Desjardins, this spiritual teacher and writer of the wisdom of the world, kept repeating it over and over again. And what if, in the end, death was not the opposite of life but a stage in a cycle ? A much greater cycle that escapes us since everything tends to be born, die, be born again and die again. How much mourning have we already experienced for ourselves ? From childhood to adolescence, from adulthood to wisdom... Then the separations, the actual bereavements, the births. The sun gives way to the moon and vice versa, every day, in our perception of each other's rotations. As in every season, flowers grow to disappear and then reappear. In winter it is not that nothing happens. On the contrary, the movement continues, the process acts, incessantly. Eternally ? Moving from tension to relaxation is the most natural thing, like breathing in and out. Sometimes the body contracts and then relaxes. We are so conditioned by the illusion of letting a state last, whatever it is, that we are passionate - sadly - about wanting to hold, to seize, to take a moment, a breath, an emotion, or to want to reject what, just as much, passes through us and passes as we pass through ourselves in this great manifestation of life. Like an IKEA shelf, we want to install, understand and organize. Then we wake up, melancholic about this mystery that inhabits us and that we wanted to extinguish like the flame of life. We want a wonderful, happy, living life. But we do our best to make it smooth, sterile, anesthetic. Without risk. Without taste. Without daring. Without relief. We want a grand world and we strive to make it smaller ! Vertiginous love ? We're working hard to make it flabby ! Eternity ? We try to fill it ! You try to grab the butterfly's wings and you end up killing it as simply as it comes to life. Then we wonder at the mountains of concrete that soon replace the twigs of spring and build a fortress... around what ?!
THE WORLD IS A GIGANTIC ORCHESTRA
I can't help but think lately of a great musician, David Grimal, who had the brilliant idea about ten years ago of creating an orchestra without a conductor and almost ironically calling his orchestra Dissonances. A homage to Mozart's most famous quartet, it also echoes in my mind the sublime phrase of Nietzsche: "One must have chaos in oneself to give birth to a star". What exactly do we know about chaos if not that we don't know anything about it ? Knowing nothing, it is beyond us, so it frightens us. Then suddenly a star appears, a meteorite falls and we make the most precious stone out of it. It's our astronaut exploration of ourselves. Observing this apparently chaotic world of which I am a part, the one that resonates within me as the one I sometimes feel contradicted by, I think of those orchestras led by Celibidach. This conductor - more than a conductor: a sage, a philosopher - had that unique presence from which so many leaders (of orchestras, states, companies, projects...) should draw inspiration: that which lets consciousness act through oneself.
LIFE IS NOT A PERSONAL STORY We so much believed that we "had to" do something with our lives, like that sentence that would be absurd if it didn't creak so much in our unconscious ears : "you have to earn a living". We have already earned our living at birth and there is nothing here to gain or lose, but only to experience, to fail perhaps or to succeed without doubt, according to a certain idea at the outset? In the end, above all, to taste, to play, to enjoy, to marvel, to dare, to laugh or to cry - but to live ! Like Celibidach, I love this art of letting the orchestra go up in its climaxes without interference. The cellos and double basses rise while the violins and the winds do the same to find themselves at the top of the work, not so much focused on what they do but on what they hear, what they listen to. So, it is no longer a leader who decides the path we are going to take, but a collective consciousness that follows a common, obvious, necessary, logical energy. And what amazes us as the fairest of interpretations, the most majestic tempo and the most successful nuances are precisely the result, not of an individual's will with the illusion of being able to create something that is not, but of this capacity to listen to each other, to feel, to vibrate together and then to let the music that knows how to evolve so well evolve itself. The human being has this extraordinary talent to vibrate, like a musical instrument, where its accuracy resonates. The body, the whole heart knows when it is in tune. Without it, he will be able to follow a conductor's baton movement, to apply himself to a tempo, to make the line and the scale, but deeply the interpretation will have nothing true, nothing organic and will risk at best to run out of breath quickly. In companies, don't you call this burn-out and more recently recently brown-out ?
What a beautiful illusion to believe that a single individual can know and direct a collective consciousness ! What a lie to oneself to think that one can master, to create one's own perfection in order to escape from the apparent "chaos" of life. From this unceasing search for mastery, the artist is not preserved more than another and can, he too, become the dictator of his world. But like a Celibidach, like this orchestra without a conductor, I have the feeling that nothing stops a collective movement. Anything that a performer tries to add, to create artificially, will at best only slow down, interfere with the path to the source, that is to say, to his heart. Besides, what is the point of believing oneself to be more intelligent than consciousness, more learned than mystery, more skillful than the cosmos ? So in these uncertain movements that we are invited to welcome, within us and outside of us, we are the branches of a tree, both autonomous in its feeling of the wind and linked to all the other branches, to the foliage, the trunk and the roots of this tree. We are the tree and its roots, the leaves and the wind, the trunk and its sap. Taken together on the great Noah's Ark, each one is necessary. THE ART OF SEEING IS AN ART Our freedom is in our eyes. The art of seeing is the art of creating life through the prism that does us good, that makes us alive. A personal conviction is that we did not come to earth to be unhappy, to be slaves, to live through hell. In fact, the daily teaching is to see certain individuals go through the worst situations imaginable and come back from them more resilient than ever, free, happy, at peace, while others in apparently favorable contexts are prey to endless inner demons. Then we understand that our greatest freedom lies in the way we choose to look at the score. Will we remain focused on a single detail? Will we be stuck on these poles of tension without ever "resolving" as we say in music towards the fundamental note ? Will we have our noses stuck on a single note when the symphony has thousands of them ? Is it the note or its nuance, its harmony? What is one note without another to highlight it, then two others to create harmony, a chord even in disharmony ? Do we want a life so "smooth" that there is only one note left in the scale, so no more music ? And without silence, does music only exist ?
Art is about learning by yourself. It is also freedom. And freedom begins where the struggle ends. I watch the geese at the Moulin de Beaupré where I have the chance to spend this time of confinement. They captivate me with beauty at least as much as the greatest masters I have met in my life! If one is not used to it, one can take their language as disconcerting, almost disturbing cries, just like their behavior. In reality they act according to their body, without filter, in connection with their needs, without being "against" or "with", in a perception of a bewildering finesse. Their perception is not even that of smell but of intention. They perceive intention a kilometer away from them. Then they move and waddle around without a second thought. They express life in their own way, what goes through them and are connected to each other as naturally as our arms are connected to our shoulders and our shoulders to our neck. Yet from the outside, from a human point of view, we find it clownish, funny, even crazy. But for them, it is the reality of their lives, beyond seriousness or joke. There is no inhibition. There is no need for judgment or comparison. But as the Dalai Lama said, love is the absence of judgment. So the geese teach me love, love of self for self and then unconditional love with everything in this world in itself. ART IS A TICKET TO THE UNLIMITED Little by little we have conceived a form of normality of beings by compartmentalizing them, like an IKEA shelf. This reassures us, it gives the illusion of understanding, and in understanding there is "taking", grasping, retaining all this immensity that escapes our understanding... Then such and such would be depressive-melancholic, such and such delirious, such and such hysteric, or even artist. French celebrated theater man Jean Vilar used to say "we like art but we don't like artists". But all these aspects, if they are the representation of our external world are also necessarily in our internal world. They are part of us. The world is a fractal through which everything is contained in everything. The outside is only the reflection of the inside and vice versa. See, when we are in love how wonderful life as a whole seems and how every blade of grass reflects the happiness that dwells in you! At the time of "isolation", what have we learned from our inner world ? Have we embraced all those parts that are sometimes less known or even totally unknown to us ? The artist, the creator, the madman, the clown, the dictator, the tyrant, the wise man, the idiot ? Paradox is not the starting point of the labyrinth. It is the entire labyrinth. I do believe that wanting to escape from it is the cruelest of illusions. Accepting to embrace it, the greatest liberation ! Then I think of this embrace of diversity, of talents, of emotions, of paradoxes in the heart of each one as if to make peace in one's own war, in this world in itself a priori chaotic, and to offer this bouquet mirroring the soul. Without black or white but black and white, as death is part of life and the life of death, the keys of the piano can then create the symphony of worlds. An embrace of spring !
Wishing you an inspiring month of May
To the song of the birds