The Music of David Salminen

Archive for the ‘spontaneity’ Category

a favorite book

tony

The informal review below is actually from a letter I wrote to the author, Anthony Blake, concerning his marvelous tour de force entitled:

“A GYMNASIUM of BELIEFS in HIGHER INTELLIGENCE”

Some of my references may be obscure to most people. Feel free to write to me about them if you find yourself with a burning question or two:

Really, I just wanted to say how much I’ve been enjoying your new book. I hardly know how to express my enthusiasm for it! Perhaps my sense of connection is greatly enhanced because of our recent meeting – the Gathering. In any case, I feel really connected with your project, and I have been moving through the book steadily – over half way through it now – not skimming, but really taking it in.

It is truly “food” for me, and in a nutshell, it satisfies a long frustrated wish to discuss many left over issues – or loose ends, if you will – from John G. Bennett’s books and talks, and of course the Sherborne courses in the 1970’s. Yet, what is most satisfying to me about your book is that I feel you have succeeded in going way beyond your own oft-mentioned “footnotes to The Dramatic Universe” assessment (however apt that may have been in reference to some of your earlier writings) to something much more vast and inclusive.

The subject of higher intelligence proves to be much, much bigger than any one genius or school (as if I need to tell you that!). In other words, as I’ve already mentioned to a number of people, the full title, “A Gymnasium of Beliefs in Higher Intelligence” seems to me to be exactly what you have created. And I am finding that “working out” in that kind of a facility is very satisfying indeed.

I have found myself creating my own customized index to your book. For instance (and these are highly personal – I wouldn’t expect them to necessarily make any sense to anyone else, including you): pp. 59-60 has a hint or secret re meditation; p. 85 – makes a connection to my feelings about nature; p. 124 – the idea of a collective tuning device – something I love and always try to bring into my “cosmic improvisations” concerts;  p. 139 – communing with the stars – this suggests an inspiring and imaginative practice, already a  whim of mine these past several years; p. 142 – another substantial hint, about healing; p. 159 – presents a key to “waking up”;  p. 162 – the allusion here to Albert Schweitzer and his tremendous claim: “my life is my argument” – wonderful.

I mention these references I have made for myself simply as an indication as to how I am “working” with this new book. I apologize again for the fact that out of context as they are, my personal index items would not necessarily make any sense to anyone else. My point, again, is simply to give you some indication as to how I am taking this information in and making something of it for myself.

One more item, on page 234: Here I found you making use of one of my favorite Mullah Nassr Eddin stories, about the graveyard and the horsemen! I myself have often re-told the story to others, in an effort to inspire a sense of the way we humans go in and out of different kinds of mutual connection.

A great book – it evidences your many years of continuing to work upon, digest, and build upon what your many teachers and colleagues have taught or suggested, or in many cases merely intimated – beginning literally a couple of generations ago… or a couple of epochs ago… etc.

“fasting of the heart”

Yen Hui, said to be the favorite follower of Confucius, asked for advice from the old sage regarding a proposed journey to the state of Wei, where a certain Prince Hui was treating his country and the death of his people “with scant regard”. The young Yen Hui wanted to see if there was anything he could do to help out, and in fact he thought that in going to the state of Wei,  he was following previous counsels from Confucius about visiting “the state that is in real trouble.” But Confucius saw that Yen Hui was not yet ready to go on such a mission, and so he told his follower to “Go away and fast, then I will tell you what to do.” Yen Hui complained that because his family was poor, he had already been fasting, for months… and then Confucius countered with the observation that Yen Hui’s fasting was not the kind of fasting that was required for generating insight, and gave this marvelous description to Yen Hui, of something deeper, “Your mind must become one, do not try to understand with your ears but with your heart. Indeed, not with your heart but with your soul. Listening blocks the ears, set your heart on what is right, but let your soul be open to receive in true sincerity. The Way is found in emptiness. Emptiness is the fasting of the heart.” (this post is a summary of a much longer passage in the Martin Palmer/Elizabeth Breuilly translation of The Book of Chuang Tzu, published in 1996 by ARKANA – Penguin Books)

listening consciousness

There are so many ways to listen to music… but a quiet, inquisitive way of listening, allowing one’s consciousness to be brought forward into contact with the movement of the sound as body experience, higher or lower, or in two or more places at once, when one is just listening with a continuous letting go into the flow of it… This kind of listening allows something to happen to the whole of oneself, refreshing and renewing .

Antennae Galaxies-NASA-227979main_image_1086_946-710

playing music – improvisations and re-creations

Musical improvisation has been an essential part of me since early childhood, although it has become vastly more sophisticated (I daresay), since I “went professional” in my 20’s, through decades now of intentional nurturing. Is my predilection for improv and spontaneity opposed to all the classical training I had in childhood, as well as in college, or complementary to it? I lean towards the notion of complementarity. One thing is for sure – any time I work on standard classical repertoire, I am well reminded of how challenging and worthy of respect the re-creative way of doing music really is!

a reflection on listening

The absolutely wonderful concert pianist, teacher and author Mildred Portney Chase (1921-1991) had this to say about listening: “I still remember my teacher Josef Lhevinne saying that I needed to listen more…. I tried harder, but what was I doing? Tensing my ear?  … Some things have surfaced since that time. I remember when I discovered silence. Silence! The mother of sound.” (an abridged quotation out of Chase’s 1974 book, Just Being at the Piano, published by Peace Press)

Cosmic Improvisations –

David Salminen’s spontaneously created piano improvisations aim at helping to foster a broader & deeper awareness of the cosmoses in which we live and breathe, all together.

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