No doubt youâ€™ve noticed that bloggers like to post the occasional quotations â€“ 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:
â€œHe who sings, scares away his woesâ€ â€“ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
â€œMusic is the medicine of the mindâ€ â€“ John A. Logan
Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass? â€“ 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 â€œaccessible music influenced by jazz and minimalismâ€ and that he is â€œsometimes described as a post-minimalist.â€ Not knowing what that means, I went to his website to listen to some clips. I donâ€™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 â€“ not better or worse, just different. The only symphonic music to reach my ears in recent months is Luther Hendersonâ€™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 oneâ€™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.