RecitalDie Schone MullerinConclusionCinemaseekersSt. Matthew PassionWinterreiseIntroduction
Ian Bostridge:
Keeping the Spiritual Ideal Alive
Every once in a while a performer comes along, who transcends the medium he is working in. Ian Bostridge is just such a performer. For us, he has come to symbolize spirituality in art. It might seem redundant to describe classical music (and Schubert Lieder in particular) as spiritual, and yet in today's world "spirituality" is quite the last word to be used in praise of someone's performance. Perhaps, it is a sign of the times that this quality is no longer valued (neither in life nor in art). Or perhaps, it is just assumed that the work of a truly great composer can survive any performance and still retain its inherent spiritual value. The latter might be true to some extent - and yet how much greater the impact of a work of Mozart, Beethoven or Mahler in the hands of Furtwangler or Bernstein!
And Ian Bostridge has become a master of Lieder (German art songs) on that level. Somehow he is able to unearth more of the spiritual depths of the great Lieder masterpieces than any other performer and make their inherent spirituality much more tangible, more alive and more significant for a contemporary audience. It is not only his superb diction combined with impeccable intonation that makes this possible, but above all else, it is his connection to the Ray of Purity in Creation. Purity has nothing to do with puritanism, but is a natural and necessary condition of the healthy spirit. Since most of us have completely lost touch with this basic quality of the spirit, it becomes essential to be reminded of what it feels like when the strings of one's soul are touched in this very special, delicate and indescribable way. This is where all genuinely great art has its high Calling. It is not necessary (though preferable, of course) that an artist's whole life should already be based on purity, what is necessary is that in the act of the execution of his Calling he is able to find a connection to Purity, which alone opens the gate to that level of artistry we generally regard as "sublime'.  This is also the reason why Mr. Bostridge's voice possesses such youthful freshness, which many people have already commented on. Purity always has this refreshing and uplifting effect, because it issues from the child-like quality of the imperishable spirit and is not dependent on the person's actual age. 
In this article, we will focus on just a few highlights of his career so far and try to offer a deeper insight into a far-reaching impact that a great artist's work has not only on this world, but also on the Creation at large.
May 30, 2005
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