When Ozawa came, he said our ability to interpret the music had fundamentally changed

As if an entire emotional range was lost to us, but we ourselves couldn’t hear it. Every musician in the orchestra knew they’d been cheated. But until that moment, we never had to face it so directly. 

Back, then, to what Zhuli said: Does it alter us more to be heard, or to hear? To hear is to be able to hear, to be sensitive, to possess an emotional range — almost as if one had access to a whole other world.

What must it feel like, to be a musician, to have committed one’s life to the life of the ear, only to be told that you cannot hear the gap in your own music? It is as if a man had spent his whole life building and making, only to find out that he had lost the use of his arms a long time ago, that he had had his hands amputated slowly, a digit at a time maybe, so quietly and yet so assuredly that he had continued to flail and wave limbs that were no longer his to lose.

So in this case, at least, in the case of the amputated musicians without ears to hear, alteration comes through hearing. For by the time they were heard by Ozawa, they had only come to be informed of their change, and the change had happened a long time ago; if they could listen to themselves and truly hear the music, they would not be thus surprised.

To hear, then, is be open to beauty itself: it is to see and know, listen and understand; it is embracing and believing, it is receiving.

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