So much of life and people can be banal, ordinary, dumb, stupid, self-destructive, and uninspiring. That is why I have sought out the great via books and videos.
The videos have late have made it possible to get to know the great men and women as well as to armchair travel to special places like Greece and Versailles. What Shakespeare identified as human greatness in Hamlet in the paragon of animals speech. There it is I have long/always found much that heartens, ennobles, and elevates. (In fact, if I was to identify one recurring quest or preference in my life, it would be for that sublime level of knowledge, experience, and motivation.)
Last evening, for instance–a truly wretched weather-evening here–I watched a video of the great Leonard Bernstein explaining Beethoven’s process in the “Fifth”. This included him playing segments that Beethoven had composed, but deleted. He even had a band play those alternate takes! He concluded the program by giving the most dramatic conducting performance with the band of the “Fifth”.
He, Beethoven, and the music were completely in sync. Bernstein wonderfully demonstrated how he actually lived his conducting at a deep level while managing to give the band very concise directions as to how to play the music and what it felt like for a truly sensitive listener. It was a sublime a viewing and aural experience all because I, in 2018–instead of wasting time–personally chose to watch a rare, long-time unavailable DVD, made back in 1954 for television. It was as good as it gets for my introduction to a great composer, conductor, and interpreter of classical music. Significant life-long learning cont’d bigtime.