music, luxury

Luxury: The surprise receipt of a brand new CD recording; JS Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos & Sinfonias. Certainly not spectacularly rare repertoire, yet this was a performance I’d previously witnessed first hand, in fact one plucked from the air, wrest of my own sweat & hands in Sydney, Australia circa 2003.

First a critique of the recording itself: Before you conclude I’m “blowing my own horn” (ahem, my tenure wasn’t amongst the brass) let me assure you I’ve no delusion that my contribution to the performance is anything other than mediocre (the same can’t be said of my peerless instrumentalists, special props to 1st violin, harpsichords & bassoon). Further & in the interest of full-disclosure, the edit/mix is far from what I’d even rate merely average - thoroughly disappointing.

What strikes me upon listening to the discs, is the degree to which specific, personal performance nuances & events are captured & remembered despite my being insulated from the session for nearly a decade. I don’t mean to diminish the degree to which I applied myself at the time - certainly there is intense emotional investment, enjoyment during performance and copious shared perspectives/recollections immediately afterward. Somewhat surprisingly, captured in those few live takes (vs. a disembodied studio “multi-track” recording) is an immediacy of deep “musical conversation” amongst instrumentalists that is remarkably rich, vivid & visceral. Not the kind of conversation that emanates from philosophising about the greater universe, rather the personal & unspoken dares, jokes & love for each-other that is expressed through permutations of musical rendition.

At the best of times my memory of events is unimpressive and yet, the spark of infinitesimal moments flying past the microphone ten years ago remain graphic, familiar & dimensional. I must have played literally thousands of compositions since, yet upon each listening of this disc it never ceases to surprise me, the capacity of the human mind to retain minute, subtle, unique experiences.

The specific moments of this performance are as clear as if they were played just minutes ago. There’s an intimate & impressively high-bandwidth communication encapsulated in musical performance which is unequaled in any domain I’ve studied.

If only my mind were capable of retaining conversations, flavours & images with equal fidelity I should declare my rich few years a satisfactory sum of accumulated mental wealth. Perhaps I’d best investigate a lexicon of musical mnemonics to leverage synesthesia for retaining same.


-D

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