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Great Musicians on Sound, Spirit, & Heart
compiled by David Gordon


Music is truly love itself, the purest, most ethereal language of the emotions, embodying all their changing colors in every variety of shading and nuance.

- Carl Maria von Weber

The goods of this world are most dear to me, but much dearer are peace of mind and my own honor.

- Claudio Monteverdi

The marvels of God are not brought forth from one's self.
Rather, it is more like a chord, a sound that is played.
The tone does not come out of the chord itself,

but rather, through the touch of the musician.
I am, of course, the lyre and harp of God's kindness.

- Hildegard of Bingen

That which draws us by its mystical force; what every created thing, even the very stones, feels with absolute certainty as the center of its being... is the force of love. Christians call this "eternal blessedness." It is a necessity of man for growth and joy.

- Gustav Mahler

Our music, whose eternal being is forever bound up in its temporal sounds, is not merely an art, enriching beyond measure our cultural life, but also a message from higher worlds, raising and urging us on by its reminders of our own eternal origins.

- Bruno Walter

Music, being identical with Heaven, isn't a thing of momentary thrills, or even hourly ones: it's a condition of eternity.

- Gustav Holst

Healing happens between the notes. I had to allow the space and not be afraid, and to know that things happen in space. You have to let the space settle. If you let go, you transcend and experience the stillness, and that is the healing. One ingredient of health is rest. Activity comes from inactivity. The basis of sound is silence. Stillness is basic to health.

- Paul Horn

We are living in a world where the individual must learn to command the raw materials of expression. He must not be dependent all the time on the ready-made, the finished product. It's the transferring, the changing of the raw into what is the expression of your own self - the whole joy and satisfaction and frustration of life is built into this.

- Yehudi Menuhin

I shall go forth, against all sorts of things, towards bright, strong and righteous aims, towards a genuine art that loves mankind, lives with his joys, his grief and his sufferings.

- Modest Mussorgsky

We are one of the leaves of the tree. The tree is all of humanity. We cannot live without the other leaves of the tree. We need intelligence, and when there is intelligence, there is love.

- Pablo Casals

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Music can be all things to all persons. It is like a great dynamic sun in the center of a solar system which sends out its rays and inspiration in every direction.... Music makes us feel that the heavens open and a divine voice calls. Something in our souls responds and understands.

- Leopold Stokowski

Almost unconsciously, the very old memory of a ringing of bells came to me when, in evening during my childhood, this sound wafted across from the west, from a village called Gadirac. Musing on this, I began to dream. But it would be difficult to describe this vagueness in words. Isn't it often that an exterior event fills us with these kinds of thoughts, so imprecise that in reality they are not thoughts but something in which we take pleasure. Perhaps the desire for things that do not exist. And that is really the domain of music.

- Gabriel Faure

Every second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and never will be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two make four and that Paris is the capital of France. We should say to each of them, "Do you know who you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In the millions of years that have passed, there has never been another child like you."

- Pablo Casals

t seemed impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt called upon to produce, and so I endured this wretched existence - an excitable body which a sudden change can throw from the best into the worst state. Patience I must now choose for my guide, and I have done so. Divine One, thou lookest into my inmost soul, thou knowest it, thou knowest that love of man and desire to do good live therein.

- Beethoven

Music possesses much richer means of expression and it is a more subtle medium for translating the 1000 shifting moments of the feelings of the soul.

- Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky

I believe in a passionately strong feeling for the poetry of life - for the beautiful, the mysterious, the romantic, the ecstatic - the loveliness of Nature, the lovability of people, everything that excites us, everything that starts our imagination working, LAUGHTER, gaiety, strength, heroism, love, tenderness, every time we see - however dimly - the godlike that is in everyone - and want to kneel in reverence.

- Leopold Stokowski

To strip human nature until its divine attributes are made clear, to inform ordinary activities with spiritual fervor, to give wings of eternity to that which is most ephemeral; to make divine things human and human things divine: to reach the heart of every noble thought...

- Pablo Casals, speaking of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach

I stand face to face with the Eternal Energy from which all life flows, and I draw upon that infinite power. To contact this Eternal Energy, I must conform to certain laws, two of the most important being SOLITUDE and CONCENTRATION. A composer must sit in the silence and wait for the direction from a force that is superior to the intellect.

- Max Bruch

 
Quotes on this page taken from "Life Streams: journeys into meditation and music"

Quest Books/Theosophical Publishing House 1988 ISBN 0-8356-0629-5

A wonderful 'book of days' with 365 meditations, and suggestions for musical listening.


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