Karajan : Beethoven Symphony No. 5, First Movement


« Each concert is a mystical experience, an ecstasy… it’s a form of grace »
Herbert von Karajan

 

An audience invariably makes great demands on an artist’s attention—demands that are generally beyond the capacity of the ordinary person—yet these demands create in the artist a certain tension that brings a special inner state with a very particular kind of force and energy that are not customary to him but which (apart from being the requisite “fire” giving life to his talents) help make him intensely vigilant and conscious of what he is doing. All this goes largely to free him from his habitual way of sensing himself and allows another aspect of his nature to rise to the surface of his being, elevating him and giving him the different taste and feeling of himself he needs—and which he intuitively values deeply.

Later, he is mysteriously impelled to want to find this heightened inner state and feeling of himself—the true source of which he is ignorant—again and again. It seems to him that he can only get it through repeatedly seeking and accepting the challenge of confronting this gigantic outer witness, the spectators in the auditorium, for the sake of the sensation it evokes in him each time he has the opportunity to perform in front of them.

The deeper the state of presence and concentration an artist is capable of mustering and maintaining in himself while on stage, the more he will be able to get away from himself; and the more he is able to get away from himself, the greater his art will be—for, without his consciously knowing it, something higher in him will at that moment come to the foreground of his being and work through him.

After he has mastered his craft, it is only in the degree that the artist can become distant from himself, forgetting his private self and becoming sufficiently free within (to permit another aspect of his nature to take over), that his artistic creation or performance will stand the test of the truth it seeks to express and have the power to elevate both himself and his audience, exalting and inspiring them both.

Edward Salim MICHAEL
The Law of attention – Chapter 47

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