Western culture and the history of its thought, rich and suggestive as they may be, often force us into perceiving the intuitive and the rational as irremediably separate when it comes to the world of phenomenon.
On occasion not even music, whose fathomless unity of tone should be taken for granted, can escape this trenchant dichotomy, as if Aristotle were an ungrateful pupil of his master Plato. Daniel Levy’s expressive art returns us to a unity of spirit and reason: profound reason that appears to descend to its constituent unit, music, to sound and the generally unfathomable mystery of the artistic event.
Generally unfathomable, yes, and protected by a thick and ancient veil concealing the real reasons of our being alive, once basic material needs are satisfied.
Pythagoras said that our spirits need nourishment as much if not more than our bodies. The sound – in the broadest meaning of the term – of Daniel Levy is thus distilled in an endless (and unhurried!) alchemical process forging it into food for the spirit; it becomes an essence so that we can nourish ourselves with perfume. It may be thought that a musician who can so easily enter the ‘interstices’ of poetics (which is also poietica, in other words ‘doing’ or ‘praxis’) can interpret any kind of composer. It is not so. It is not so because some Composers resound more greatly in relation to a deep reason of sound. They resound more because the depth of their creative experience is as intense as Levy’s. The result is a special harmony between performer and composer. This is a silent event of the spirit and of reason, which, conjoined, we hear when we listen to a successfully completed poetic project.
In this manner Schubert, Liszt, Schumann, Chopin, Brahms and Scriabin rediscover a raison d’être which goes beyond the necessity of social performance (often determined by market considerations); they are brought back to that truly precious dimension where deep reflection, the synergy between intuition and reason, the necessity not so much of performance as of spiritual reflection and emotional intensity represented exclusively and only through sound, turn into the suffixes of an extremely uncommon perceptive world that phonographic recordings rarely succeed in evoking.
This process, more one of sensitive than technical refinement, finds perhaps its highest form in Schumann.
If we go back to the ancient Greek etymological origin of the word technical, we find the meaning “disclosure of the truth”. Is there a truth in/of sound? We may not be in a position to say whether or not a truth exists, but we can say that some sound, filtered first through our cultural experience, then by our memory, reaches our deepest inner recesses.
This process is perhaps determined by microscopic and perfectible reordering of the time-space relationship, which Levy has been working on for some time with care, rigour and sacred dedication in the manner of the greatest craftsmen who dressed the stones of ancient temples, blending dexterity with prayer, hard work with spirituality.
The romantik in a reading of Levy lies in the profundity of his thought transported into sound, always in perfect equilibrium with a very solid consciousness of the need to contemplate sounds and the minute details of their relationships: as if there were a yearning for the darkest and most beguiling side of the very structure of the work in question.
And where does this process of dressing the stone lead? To a true brilliance that is not the result of superficial and external processes. This brilliance, however, rightly retains some shadows. The shadows moved the beautiful and restless souls of the composers who have consigned to history the results of their lives – results that are neither to be judged as useful or useless, but rather to be, simply, Art. Levy conjures up these shadows once more. Light strikes as a function of its continuous pulsing reappearance, and it is through this eternal alternation that this musician consigns himself to our sensitivities.
Marco Maria Tosolini (Italy)