Michael Tilson Thomas: “Music and Emotion Through Time”
~posted by Whit Martin-Whitaker, KMFA Saturday morning announcer
Around the turn of the New Year, I was browsing the TED Talks online, when I ran across one that drew me in. Even though the TED talks are invariably interesting and informative, one in particular caught my eye with a name I knew: conductor/pianist/composer Michael Tilson Thomas. The title of the TED Talk is “Music and emotion through time.”
In this presentation, Tilson Thomas presents addresses his view that music answers two basic questions: (1) what, and (2) how. He provides a brief overview of western music over the last 1000 years, crediting the development of musical notation with facilitating “a dialogue between the two powerful sides of our nature: Instinct and intelligence,” and with allowing composers and musicians emote through music across time.
Tilson Thomas posits “what classical music does is to distill all of these musics [of everyday life] down, to condense them to their absolute essence, and from that essence create a new language — a language that speaks very lovingly and unflinchingly about who we are. It’s a language that’s still evolving.” But what happens to us when the music stops? What are we left with? How might that change our lives?
He concludes that even after the musical performance is over, we are still joined to the indescribable and intangible we have absorbed from it. We don’t need to be musically savvy — we need only to stay engaged.
I recommend this video for any fan of classical music!
~posted by Whit Martin-Whitaker, KMFA’s Saturday morning host