On silence

– On silence –

‘’I sometimes try to transport myself mentally to a time in which there was still real silence. In which music only existed when someone, in that moment, would play or sing it’’. These are the words of conductor Ingo Metzmacher. He means that in the far past we had no recordings. Music would sound and it would go. It had something magical, something ungraspable.

It is an interesting thing to realize how silence influences that what is about to come. It is perhaps even true there must be silence before music can start. The longer music is preceded by silence the stronger it becomes.

Particular moment for me are the beginning of the Sonata in b minor by Franz Liszt. When one knows the piece you can already hear the first note in your head before it even starts. This moment of expectation is a very valuable part of silence. In other words, silence can take many forms.

Silence can also be present when the music is still moving. An example of this, and one of the most emotional moments in music for me, is the Coda from the Adagio of Bruckner’s 7th symphony. Just before that moment, you’ve been through a few minutes of ecstatic emotions. This is followed by this brilliant Coda in which nothing really ‘matters’ anymore. The storm has subsided. What remains is silence.


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