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Editorial Musings with Basil Ramsey

Personal experience


Eligibility to captivate

Regular readers will have noticed that our main page now carries a daily mini-feature called Captivating Moments, and long may it run. But it will fizzle out unless most of you realise that you are also eligible to contribute.

If I was a betting man, I would place money on the certainty that all of you experience captivating moments when listening to music. The essential factor is realisation of the moment when it flashes in and out. The few that I have experienced left a clear signal in my mind, which have instant recall. There may have been others which fail the recall test, so remain shadows or simply extinguish themselves.

The importance to us all of personal experiences in music remains essential, particularly if the incidents have an impact to stir up our feelings generally. That, I find, is where most of us are slightly bemused. If feelings are stirred it is often hard to identify the cause, which can split between several things that have affected us over a period of days.

Music, nonetheless, tumbles us considerably if we hear something new to us with the right kind of ingredients for our kind of reception. My reception when much younger reacted like a thunderbolt to a first attendance of Wagner's Die Meistersinger at Covent Garden. It was not one scene, it was the whole massive structure overwhelming me like a series of tidal waves. This experience simply changed my life, and certainly I found myself rearranging and reassessing my previous view of Music as an art form.

I've heard others revealing such cataclysmic experiences, so this is fact maybe to countless thousands over the centuries. One can speculate, for instance, on the impact of great music in an initial performance. Did any present have the certain feeling that what they heard would sweep the world? Could they have had extraordinary insight at premières to know in a flash that what they were hearing was the birth of a masterpiece?

Before I take off and fly around the room in some strange delirium, allow me to invite readers with suitable ammunition to bring me back with a bump.


Copyright © 29 March 2001 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK



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