Like a partition, we know that our life - on earth at least - has an end. We do not know in advance what will happen or how the experience will be, but we know that we are going from this original point to this ultimate point. Yet, irremediably, a part of us looks for the low sides, the shortcuts, the tunnels, the slopes, the junctions, the emergency exits, the flys, the dives... As if, already, a distrustful part, looked at all the diagonals before welcoming the path, this unknown.
When we arrive at the final point, we often understand the plot of all that has been played out. We are sometimes surprised to have put so much attention on details, ornamentations, while the structure, the general phrasing, were not taken into account.
Did you ever sit in your chair and see yourself again ten or twenty years ago, laughing at so many worries that you put on the importance of an event or illusory judgements ?
When I was younger, my first piano teacher knew how to call me to order when I worried too much about the "decoration" before the foundations of a work. A frequent risk when we so often look at a single note while we forget the grandiose architecture of the symphony. Refining the violins here, making the clarinets stand out elsewhere, finding the balance between the brass and fine-tuning the color of the cellos, certainly. This is only possible by keeping the overall momentum, the direction, the horizon that calls us. As long as we do not forget our intention, this rudder will keep meaning in each of our actions. Without it, we risk living a whole life looking through a keyhole and lamenting its shape ! Afraid to move forward, the melody unravels like pearls without strings or like music without rhythm.
In the end, as mysterious as it is elusive, necessary and dizzying, acceptance whispers its presence to us. It is the one that opens to the interpretation of yourself, the most accurate, the most intimate, the truest. It is sometimes on the very last note or on the encore piece that we take the measure of the magic of the concert. In the same way, it is sometimes on one's last breath that one finally grants oneself this expiry, the freest of all. The one which has neither expectations nor stakes, the one which offers itself as much as it relieves itself, the one which embraces at the same time as it extricates itself.
What would it be like if it were your last day ? Would your concentration go to the same places ? On this takeoff runway, we are as much the pilot as the plane, the runway and all the passengers who decide to take off. Isn't it exhilarating ?!
Living is an art
And art is not a way to escape reality. On the contrary, it brings more to oneself. In this it can be therapeutic. The greatest travelers, the finest explorers are those who have traveled within themselves. From my benches at the conservatory until today, I understand how playing music is much more than that. At the beginning of this year, in this decade that opens with this mirror-like figure, I believe that no field will be able to avoid the question of meaning as much as that of responsibility. Surprisingly - perhaps this is my interpretation - I have the impression that a number of therapists have emerged in recent years. Helping, helping each other, learning, sharing, caring, awakening, relieving, doing good, inspiring, transforming... What else would make more sense at a time when a strange feeling of overdose is floating over the modern cities of the world ? I believe then that art and more precisely music, like other fields, no longer has the same vocation as in the time of Liszt, Beethoven or even Horowitz. Although Horowitz was, in my opinion, precisely an alchemist magician hypnotist !
Or it is that we put a new consciousness, we realize that the most fundamental meaning in our lives is undoubtedly to take care of ourselves and others, of the environment, of human beings, animals, plants, etc...
If we keep being so much touched by a Chopin nocturne through centuries, it is because it is essential to us. It is not an aesthetic beauty, a luxury, a perfume or a pretty decoration that we buy to embellish our home when we can afford it. Chopin, Schubert, Bach, Mozart, touch our hearts and that is precisely what we need.
Because it leads us, by loving these works that surpass us, to love ourselves, to make peace, to stop the factitious or exhausting struggles of our lives.
Sometimes I imagine the concert halls of the future as a great therapeutic space. Whether it is to connect to one's creative power, to release a sadness, to accompany a mourning, to welcome a joy, to celebrate a love, to connect with the divine, to transcend a fear, to soothe one's inner child, music is very much like what is done in a hypnosis, sophrology, psychotherapy, energetics, coaching practice...
Quantum physics teaches us that all possibilities exist simultaneously in parallel universes. Each impulse thus guides us through a labyrinth of which we are as much the interpreter as the author. The score is written at the same time as we play it !
The mistake is not to have made a bad choice, to have taken a detour which is not favorable, to have played a wrong note... The mistake is to have abandoned the impulse, to not have gone to the end of the gesture, to have constantly turned one's gaze towards the other possibilities, forgetting to live fully the one we already embody, at this moment, and which will then tell us the next step.
It would be absurd to want to know or hear the last chord of a work without its history. The meaning is not only in this final note but in each movement that has generated, note after note, this final.
Most writers say that, even when they have an idea about the plot or even the outcome of a story, they are constantly brought from unknown to unknown according to the characters they have imagined.
If art is not a way of escaping from reality, it is our way of being in this reality.
An American celebrity once told a journalist : "Having money simply increases who you are. If you are generous, you will be even more generous, if you are insecure, you will be even more insecure, if you are afraid of scarcity, you will be even more insecure, if you are bold, you will be even more bold. " Like a license to freedom, money simply opens doors that we might have thought closed.
Art does the same. It exacerbates our being, our emotions, our fears as well as our love. This is why it is impossible to dive into this existential dimension without diving into oneself. Impossible to go from one end to the other of a music without going through angels and demons in the process that goes from the inside to the outside and from the outside to the inside. Until one and the other become one.
When I play, as when I write, I don't know from a moment on whether it's the notes that play me or me playing with them. I don't know then what's going to happen. I hold the thread of the invisible, impalpable dialogue that will lead me - if I am smoothly, without clashes or prejudices - to where it should be.
French popular 20th Century singer Charles Trenet wondered what was in a nut... I always wondered what was in a sound ! And the only answer for me is : a great journey.
Like a ball of yarn, you pull a piece that takes you further and further away. Sometimes vertigo catches us looking at the displayed extend, sometimes we venture out with impatience, other times we observe the trajectory or we are surprised by the details of the thread itself.
Sound is the mirror of the soul. In life, it is our mind that reflects. In music, it is the notes that reflect who we are, deeply. Music is everywhere, at all times, inside and outside of us. "Being alive it's making sounds", says Corinne Sombrun, at the border between music and metaphysics.
The world is not lacking in wonders, but in wonder. And life is not lacking in music but in ears that listen to this marvelous symphony of souls.
Listening is also listening to oneself. An orchestra only sounds in tune if the musicians know how to listen to themselves before they listen to their stand neighbors.
In this promising beginning of the year, I wish you to take care of yourself !
And I wish us to meet again for the musical adventures of 2020...