Today’s Discoveries

No doubt you’ve noticed that bloggers like to post the occasional quotations – given Internet access there is no shortage of pithy sayings that we can share with you. I will admit that, to some degree, the act of trolling for quotes is sometimes a combination of laziness and procrastination, but there is also a delight in finding an admirable turn of phrase, encountering a new metaphor, or discovering that a thought was put forth by someone you would not have imagined. Also fun, of course, is the juxtaposition of two or more quotes, be they compatible or antithetical. But what I like best about quotations and the power of the Internet is that I come across people heretofore unknown to me, and within a few keystrokes I can find out who they are or were, what they do or have done, and serendipitously broaden my horizons. Take these quotes for example:

“He who sings, scares away his woes” – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

“Music is the medicine of the mind” – John A. Logan

Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass? – Michael Torke

I had jotted down these quotes some time ago. I knew who Cervantes was (the Spanish author), but until I did a little research I did not know that the quotation in question comes from chapter 22 of Don Quixote of la Mancha (translated by John Ormsby). I also found that the wording is sometimes given as “He who sings frightens away his ills.”

As for the other two men quoted, I had no idea at all who they were. Turns out that Logan was a politician who lived in the 1800s. He was a congressman, a brigadier general during the Civil War, later a senator, and Memorial Day was presumably his idea. (To read the congressional bio blurb go here.) Who would expect a switch-hitting politician (first a Democrat, later a Republican) and a lawyer to boot, to say that about music?

The third quote turns out to be from a music man, a composer. BrainyEnclopedia says he writes “accessible music influenced by jazz and minimalism” and that he is “sometimes described as a post-minimalist.” Not knowing what that means, I went to his website to listen to some clips. I don’t consider myself qualified to review or critique symphonic music, but I can tell you that it was pleasing to my ears. A cursory look at the critical acclaim he has received from those in the know supports my appreciation, but part of my enjoyment might also be due to the sound being a welcome change of pace from the music that I have been listening lately – not better or worse, just different. The only symphonic music to reach my ears in recent months is Luther Henderson’s Classic Ellington, recorded in England with Sir Simon Rattle conducting The City of Birmingham Symphony. The orchestrations are wonderful, but the experience of listening to orchestrations of songs with which I am very familiar is vastly different than listening to an original work for the first time, the latter allowing for a mental release that is not possible when the mind is filled with specific expectations. I never thought about this before today, and therein lies yet another benefit of cruising the Internet and letting one’s mind wander a bit. It seems that generating new ideas first requires letting go.

ps – for those of you who know there to be a psychotherapist in my family, let me go on record saying that while music may soothe today, it is no match for the long-term benefits of analysis.