Friday, April 10, 2009

"Bach wrote it for God" - Benjamin Zander


Sorry if I could not contain myself and had to shout this at you. But this is one of those times when I'm reminded of how grateful we should be that:

a. engineers invented the Internet (coming from another engineer that might sound suspicious to you);
b. there are a lot of smart people out there willing to share their knowledge with us; and,
c. God gave us the ability to feel and we discovered music as a means to impart feelings to others.

The following video is by Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. His talk was part of Pop!Tech'08, which seems to be a TED-like initiative for the East coast. I could be wrong though.

Ben's talk is an inspirational one. He talks about embracing life's possibilities. But the great thing about it is that he used music -- actually he used a 15-year-old cello player -- to make his point. In the end, I was more inspired by the way he taught the young musician to play with passion, how he opened his eyes to a whole new world of possibilities, than by the analogy he was drawing.

One last thing that caught my imagination in this lecture. Ben mentioned that at the end of each musical composition, Bach wrote down the words "For the glory of God" or something to that effect. Now I'm not claiming to be very religious or anything. That said, I cannot but wonder the feeling behind writing a piece of music for Him. Every songwriter can certainly recall the emotional ride of writing a love song; it's like writing a carefully crafted letter to a very special someone. What would I want to say to God? Thanks for everything, I guess. And like a father feels towards a grateful son, I bet that would make Him proud.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this presentation. Zander also gave an excellent speech at TED last year. Though there are a lot of things in common between the two speeches, I think it's worth checking out: Classical music with shining eyes.