he looked nothing out of the ordinary with this black silk shirt, sans tie, and brown hair that flopped carelessly on his forehead.
that all changed, however, the moment the music started behind him and he tenderly lifted up his instrument, placed it under his chin and began to play. for the first few notes his lips moved as he let the bow glide across the strings, coaxing the violin to take over his thoughts, take control of his voice and do the talking for him for the next 20 minutes.
his body was held captive by the music as he moved with every pull of the bow, every pluck of his fingers. there were times when he tiptoed as if compelled by an urge to fly with the swells in the score. he kept his eyes closed save for a few fleeting looks at the conductor, rewarded by a reassuring glance when their eyes met.
it was the expression on his face that kept me mesmerised the entire time. it was a look of pure pleasure, eventhough the lines on his forehead betrayed the amount of concentration and practice that was put into preparing for the performance.
i had no need to move with the music as i usually do when i listen to amazing music such as that. it felt like he had taken every bit of emotion that can possibly be illicited by anyone at all, captured it and presented it back to me in a manner that was beyond my understanding.
his body, his face, his hands, his violin…he didn’t only let the music do the talking for him; he made it do the feeling for me too.
i sincerely believe that artists are hedonistic spirits that seek to do nothing but satisfy themselves. they are unaware of the feelings that their work evokes in the ordinary person. all they know is what makes them happy, what fulfills their overwhelming desire to create beautiful things.
i’m sure joshua bell couldn’t have cared less that his recording of “the red violin” made me cry bucketfuls and that his performance last night held my emotions prisoner or that i literally forced myself to look away a couple of times because i was holding my breath every time my eyes were on him.
my ego suffers with the knowledge that artists look to satisfy their need to be creative first and that making me, the audience, happy is a money-making bonus. or should i say, a necessary reality?
but that pride is worth breaking if it means being able to experience the kind of ethereal experience i had last night.