<Chapter 7> Theory of Music, Theory of Art, and Essays

“We can travel time and space freely on the ship of MUSIC.”

Even though our techniques are immature, we play classical music with heartfelt respect, sincere attitude, and joy. Without a time machine, we could still fly to baroque and classic period and smell the scent of that era. However, Herbert Read once said, “Beethoven will be ceased to exist a few centuries.” As the generation who witnessed the end of the century, we should not be a simple successor of culture. The prediction of Herbert Read might turn out to be true, but we should have the spirit to spare no effort to turn human cultural heritage into one of the spiritual pillars of people’s lives in the proper way of this era; the most desperate thing among despair social situation, environment, and destiny is indeed people’s “psychological end-of-the-century deterioration.”
(February 1993)

The Activity of amateur orchestra is just a part of preparation or means in order to contemplate life deeply. Beautiful and strong things both have values and attractiveness, but it will not teach us the way we live. Rather, the more we indulge in art and culture, the more we lose an integral perspective.
(October 1987)

On what do conductors rely on to form music when they confront an orchestra? This was always uncertain to people as well as the thesis “Is a conductor really necessary for orchestra?” I am aware of conductors worldwide who insisted on precisely playing notes on the score, however, would it be overhasty to say that even for them, scores were merely rough indication for them. In other words, the ship in name of orchestra continues to sail the ocean of classic music bypassing the port of era. In this voyage, a tide of time and wind of the sense is never the same. Free yourself from sophomoric knowledge of music and experience, and feel, resonate, and contemplate your own life. Would it be possible for conductors to express their emotions and intentions without trapped in the cage of the score and make music with an orchestra?

We can travel time and space freely on the ship of “music.” It is a bliss to make music into your own music. This is like finding a 3D image of a magnificent castle or elegant flower by changing perspective view on a monotone mosaic pattern. I would like everyone to know that there awaits an extraordinary and fantastic world just like a 3D image beyond the score. The role of a conductor is simply a guide you to that door.
(November 1993)

To train yourself toward something, to not aim for easy pleasure or compromise, to seriously face your mind and behavior; these will help you understand the huge difference between a hobby and liberal art. Ordinary people without any special talent or spiritual awakening can still acquire liberal art.

For me, as my relationship with music gets longer, I started to wonder why music fascinates me no matter what, before devoting myself into music. I gradually became unable to believe the saying “you will understand music deeply and be able to express music at a higher level,” because of musical training.

Of course, I do not deny the technical training and refinement of sensitive expression, but I fear that something is horribly misunderstood. For example, Vico, an Italian philosopher from the 18th century once said, “People danced long before they started walking.” French philosopher, Rousseau once said, “People used words to express their own strong feelings at first. In a primitive human society, there was no distinction between a song and a spoken language. People were singing their first language.” Before we realize it, are we gradually moving away from where it should be? A human being with a soul, longing for nature of sounds that lie behind admiration of music; we do not notice the cry. Therefore, according to Heidegger, words used in daily life “is forgotten and clapped out a poem which no cry is heard.” I sometimes wonder whether it is some kind of alert that I continue to find music fascinating.

Looking up the fast-moving clouds in the winter sky, episodes of “Vocalise” and “Chausson” fly by my ears. What am I listening to in my heart right now? One thing I may say is that you see, hear, and feel well in return for loneliness.
(January 1995)