Four Lessons I Learned from Antonio Vivaldi: Spring’s Fourth Lesson
By Cathleen Elise Rossiter
(As this is part of a series and it may be helpful to see where it all began, here are the links (+ this + this) to catch up on my endeavor to learn something new from repeated exposure to a single work of art).
“Repetition is the mother of study.” – Latin proverb –
This fourth time around with the spring season in musical form, I find a wave of sadness wash over me, for it means the final installment in our four-part series. These frequent visits with a now dear friend have become a source of joy and comfort in the midst of a busy week. For in order for me to learn something new from each visit with a work of art, in this case, Antonio Vivaldi’s Spring from his Four Seasons concerto, I must sit with the piece for a while. When the piece is in musical form, I play it on an endless loop while I research the composer, the time in which he lived, as well as everything and everyone who would have had a direct or indirect influence on the composer while creating the piece.
One would think that a constant repetition of a single piece of music would eventually make one sick of the music. Well, when viewed in the light of developing a friendship with the music, I ask you, “Does one ever tire of spending time with one’s true friend – the one who knows you inside and out and who has been there for you in all of the lovely and messy moments that make up your life?
Relationships develop by repeated contact and interaction with another party. During each interaction, each party reveals a bit more about himself or herself as he or she gains trust in the other party. It is through the repetition of coming together and exchanging more about oneself that one comes to know another person more deeply. Amid the knowing, develops ever-deeper levels of caring and compassion that creates a desire for more frequent contact and a deeper understanding of the other person.
Music, art, the creative endeavors of others are capable of reaching you at your innermost places in ways that a school chum simply can’t because when you are with a work of art, you expose every aspect of yourself to the art, even your innermost treasures or pains that you hold back from the live person in front of you. Through repeated exposure to a single work of art, you allow yourself to become ever more vulnerable to the message of the art for you at each given point on your life.
Music, art, the creative endeavors of others truly can become as friends if we open ourselves to discovering the intended and unintended messages of the artist by repeatedly coming into contact and interacting with the same individual work even as we continually expand our artistic horizons.
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