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Thread: Spiritual experiences with music.

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    Default Spiritual experiences with music.

    Last month or so, I listened all the way through Bruckner's 9th symphony, for the second time, and it was amazing - it put me in an almost meditative, spiritual state of mind, like nothing I had experienced before in music. I am interested in if any of you also have has listening experiences like this.

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    This topic seems to come up about every 2 months -- spirituality and music. I never know what people mean by spirituality in music. It always seems to me people are describing something that makes them feel good.

    I have loved Bruckner for 40 years but have never received any spiritual uplift, or any other kind of uplift, from the 9th symphony. Many performances of it seem like the end of the world to me. There is more likelihood for these feelings in the adagios of the 7th and 8th symphonies, I think.

    I just listened to Cherubini's In Paradisum, a short choral work whose text says, among other things, "Into the paradise may the angels lead you." That was spiritually uplifting.

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    I am not sure what "spiritual experiences" means in this context since I do not think we are talking about ghosts (even if the composers who write the music and perhaps even the people performing on our recordings of it all happen to be dead). I often have an emotional reaction to music. I presume that, unless it is always the same person bringing up the topic, there must be something to the question if it keeps coming up with such regularity.
    Last edited by JAS; May-23-2020 at 14:28.

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    Bruckner 9 indeed, and even more the final minutes of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde.

    ETA: Bruckner 9 especially the last moments of the third movement. One of the reasons why I find the completed 4th movement horrible is that it spoils that moment by continuing, as if nothing special had just happened.
    Last edited by Art Rock; May-23-2020 at 15:02.
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    There are moments in music which bring me into a sense of the spiritual, or the transcendent. One of them is in Tintner's recording of Bruckner's 4th, in the first movement right before the recap. In fact, Tintner, at least to me, is able to consistently bring out a sense of the transcendent in Bruckner. Another moment is at the end of Celibidache's recording of the first movement of the 4th symphony.

    Solomon's recording of the slow movement of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata also does that to me; I lose track of time. In fact, many of late Beethoven's slow movements bring me into a sense of transcendence, because he has traded conflict resolution to spiritual resolution (he isn't fighting anymore; he is projecting a sense of acceptance).

    I'm always drawn in by the first movement of the C# minor string quartet. And the Heiliger Dankesang section of his Opus 32 string quartet has a climax which is the most authentic depiction in music of reaching out and touching something beyond this world that I've encountered.

    Then there the end of his Op. 111 piano sonata, where everything gets compressed into a trill and time suspends itself.

    The Sanctus in Dufay's Mass for Saint Anthony also has a way of stretching out my sense of time.

    There are more, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head.
    Last edited by Manxfeeder; May-23-2020 at 14:55.

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    Too many, but one of the standout examples for me is Mahler’s 9th, especially the outer movements. There is no music like this in the world, it seems as if it is reaching out from a different universe. Then pretty much any late Beethoven slow movement, especially the 12th, 13th, and 15th quartets; piano sonatas 29 and 32, and the final Diabelli Variations. Then there’s Bach. All of Bach.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe." - Douglas Adams

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    I get HII with classical music, my soul rips the chains of my physical body and flies away, somewhere...
    'Listen, Mister god!
    Isn't it boring
    to dip your puffy eyes,
    every day, into a jelly of clouds?'

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    There is a harmony between music, religion and psychology. Brain science now supports the idea that listening to music triggers neurological responses similar to those that people experience during religious experiences involved with prayer and meditation, and prayers and even sermonizing seem to contain a certain rhythm.

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    I still remember the first time I heard Mahler's second symphony. I had bought a set conducted by Bernstein, and took it in to work to listen to as I worked on a particularly tedious program that I was trying to finish. I still remember the sense of being captivated and uplifted by the final movement, such that I entirely stopped coding and had to repeat that part several times. I don't know that it has ever quite had the same impact on me, now that I am so familiar with it, but it still works some kind of magic on me, as do parts of the Sibelius symphony no. 5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach G View Post
    There is a harmony between music, religion and psychology. Brain science now supports the idea that listening to music triggers neurological responses similar to those that people experience during religious experiences involved with prayer and meditation, and prayers and even sermonizing seem to contain a certain rhythm.
    There is certainly a reason that it is so often used prominently in propaganda. It works.

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    Philip Larkin saw the connection between music and spirituality very clearly

    This is a special way of being afraid
    No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
    That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
    Created to pretend we never die,

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    Quote Originally Posted by BenG View Post
    Last month or so, I listened all the way through Bruckner's 9th symphony, for the second time, and it was amazing - it put me in an almost meditative, spiritual state of mind, like nothing I had experienced before in music. I am interested in if any of you also have has listening experiences like this.
    Are you kidding? That's why I listen to choral music. The percentage of choral works which 'flip' the switch for the state of mind you describe is greater for me than that produced by most instrumental music. I'm not always looking or searching for that state of mind, but I certainly do enjoy it.
    I love music. I want music. I need music.

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    Slow movement of Schubert’s C major Quintet
    Vaughan Williams’ Tallis Fantasia, slow movement from 2nd Symphony and parts of 5th Symphony
    Bruckner 7-9
    Strauss Death and Transfiguration, Four Last Songs
    Mahler, final song from Das Lied von der Erde
    Beethoven late quartets, slow movement of Hammerklavier
    Goodness me! There’s more but I’ll stop here.

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    If you want spirituality from Bruckner then you really should go to the Celibidache Munich recordings. But I am also wondering what spirituality means in this context and how I would recognise it. I believe it might be something like what I experience when I listen to Messiaen - the spiritual experience is physical rather than mental. I often feel (physically) different after listening to Messiaen.

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    Very little music brings out spiritual feelings in me. Here is one. The violin is supposed to symbolize the Holy Spirit.

    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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