A star rises. Sounds burst and set the sky on fire. Time stops and the dream finally opens its frontiers and my life fuses with Music.
Ever since I was very young it has always been present, this seems to appear commonly. However today I have much to discover... As a child, I had the luck to practise several instruments and to study the one that I loved most : the clarinet and I am still far from having exhausted it...
On a few rare occasions, touched by the feeling that everything had been explored, I began to wonder if I had not reached the end of my discoveries... But an unknown musician always appeared to impress me, an unusual musical combination surprised me or an unexpected piece of music caught my attention and returned to me the sincere urge to continue following this unlimited road...
Here is how my fantastic love story with music has continued over the course of these many years.
WHAT IS MUSIC ?
Music is at the summit of all the arts : a union of Spirituality and Science, it can appear as an arithmetic eurhythmy of auditory sensations... Yet, by directly penetrating a being's intimacy, naturally and more profoundly than any other expression, it melts into the mystery of the human interior to bring a privileged access to magic and dreams.
An emanation from the soul, music arrives in one's life as a beating heart. It is a true need, a prerequisite such as the necessity of drinking or breathing... Could one live without music?
- Music is primarily Communication. It is being's intimate expression, opened to the unknown, somewhat comparable to love : the desire to seduce, or succomb to the charm, to share and to better merge in order to enjoy an immense well-being...
The harmonious combination of sounds and rhythms engenders a sensation of pleasure. Is it forthis reason that, since the ancient time, the most rudimentary species used this faculty to obtain the favours of the loved one ? The cricket stridulates its appeal in semi quaver as soon as settles down on hot summer days... The nightingale modulates its trills of the warm and happy nights...
Music is the song of love of man and woman, always marked by the personality and the culture of the one or the other. The primitive melody, revisited in a richer grander form by the fantastic complexity of their being, sublimates it in art. Become "Music" it halos with every colours of their cosmic harvest.
Music knows how to abolish our certainties, surprise us to overturn our preconceptions and to take us as it pleases into its mysterious places : its burning vibrations or its radiant feelings are a passionate invitation to enter the enigmae of infinity...
Revelation of the eternal in the ephemeral, it resonates by revealing this other sound light which exists in each of us and which we ignored until we discovered it.
- A pure masterpiece of the imaginary, music creates from nothing or almost nothing with, for its sole material, the vibration of the air, an immaterial architecture. Silence disintegrates into octaves, then into arpeggios and into scales from which spring the brilliance of colours. And this harmony restores the secret depth of the sky and the strange vibration of the planets...
MAGIC IS INDISPENSABLE TO MUSIC
The score is not yet music, it is only the program. Because music arises from the sound alchemy which presides over its performance : As in the melting pot of an ocean of stars, chords and rhythms gradually transmute into an indefinable magnetic appeal. Music appears, and soaks into the unmeasured vastness of space. Then it condenses, similar to the sublime gold of auroras borealis : the magic gets out then, flooding the consciousness with magic sensations and feelings of a magnificent plenitude.
A small note in passing : During my first recordings in Paris, the artistic director did not use the most technically correct clarinet recording, but the one that best revealed the "magic"... Because music without magic has no power to make us dream.
SMALL AND GREAT MUSIC
In the absolute, we look for Infinity, for Beauty and for Love which merge in a spiral of light. Beauty engenders emotion, and this makes more nervous, more feverish, and also more vulnerable : this embrittlement of the soul, this fascinating confusion opens the way to consent, as a prelude to love. So, the bird warbles soft songs to charm and to hypnotize his mate. The peacock makes its wheel to dazzle and yet the toad also desires his female, and seems so spellbound by its "charm". Maybe does it find it "beautiful" ?
what is Beauty? A fancy? A subjective notion, bound to desire ?
What music certainly does bring us is the complexity of its mysteries. A reflection of spirituality amongst the toys of this world, it rends the depths of the sky to decipher it, between the silver dust of the galaxies, the encoded language of the universe...
are the criteria of beauty in music ? Is there a great and a small music
Because all music - finally liberated from etiquette - but conceived and executed with joy can only illuminate the world with its magnificence!
Another point that I like to remember, is that "knowledge does not replace genius". When virtuosity becomes excessively developed it takes a step away from art. The technique has to serve the art without ever becoming an end in itself. Charm is a matter of charisma and sensibility : it neither takes itself to be, nor risks seeing itself supplanted by, the display of knowledge without soul. Miles DAVIS understood this well : "Why play so many notes instead of just choosing the most beautiful" ?
In nature, the rule is never that of uniformity. It should be the same way with music.
A musician - composer, a performer or an enlightened listener - must not hesitate to forget conformity; without caring too much if they should be banished by those who, having for a long time toiled on accepted masterpieces, are fixed in their idea of what is "musically correct".
The established order of which they take advantage and which advocates the "critical acclaim certfied by the government" does not engender great things and sterilizes any creative evolution. A powerful caste hates the free thinker and leaves no place for them : Everything stagnates into a boring respect for rules.
In our society, we have particularly developed the values of Work and Thought, which have greatly contributed to the development of Science and Technology. But have we somewhat forgotten the festive and imaginative aspects of life ? It may be necessary to re-learn how to play and how to dream, and to rediscover the virtues of creation, desire, passion and pleasure !
The explosive growth of the media has given birth to a new politico-economic ideology which accompanied and supported the development of a pseudo-culture based on a "Mass Art" - a veritable caricature of the "Popular Art" of the troubadours or the builders of cathedrals
This "Consumer Music" produced by four or five multinational record companies - and intended to be sold to all and in all markets - will henceforth occupy all available media space, thus depriving the public of the opportunity to discover any other forms of expression, and forbidding the artists the opportunity of making known new forms.
In the same way, the same consortiums also have significant shares in "Grand Music" for which they control promotion and distribution.
Their critical and the other "afficianados" of the art ( who only have a judgment as correct as that of anyone else ), use their bookish knowledge and the "stamp" of their position to make the public feel distanced from the treasures to which they alone are supposed to have access. Because it is not in good taste to dispute the dominant caste and especially to question their traditional values, or those of their "musical subsidized research" ( at the expense of the taxpayer ) : In the same way, this is a sealed system.
it is necessary for us to free ourselves from the idea that music is
reserved for a small circle of "musicophiles" who are supposed
to be "knowledgeable". Art is a link between people. Music
is not just for some, but for all of humanity : an ambitious and fascinating
challenge, to satisfy the most demanding of music lovers as well as
the most unsophisticated of listeners!
BACH composed his music and from then on the universe vibrated with more sensational colours...The artists are enchanters, prophets, poets Every day Man shapes the present from which springs his future. He has the power to build it or to destroy it.
we continue to accept without reacting, to be spectators during the
degradation of the earth and the oceans which surround us? To the seizure
by the cartels of record and communications companies of culture and
music? To the storage of personal information by an increasingly invasive
No, I do not adhere to these "Better Worlds" that our model society is proposing to us. I decline the invitation to the "unique thought". We must reconquer Enjoyment and Freedom. Because they are necessary for creativity which, by developing the world in diversity, fertilizes and guarantees our future.
So let us take every day the full measure of our responsibility. It is very real. Our independence to choose today's and tomorrow's values depends upon it.
Jean-Christian MICHEL - May 2004