We all need a healer, “A Healing Fire” by Smaro Gregoriadou on #neuguitars #blog
“The earliest experience of art must have been that it was incantatory, magical; art was and instrument of ritual.The earliets theory of art,that of the Greek philosophers, proposed that art was mimesis, imitation of reality.”*
I met Smaro Gregoriadou’s music a few years ago, in December 2016. I was struck by a couple of her records “Reinventing Guitar II” (2012) and “El Aleph” (2016), in both there was a strong tension towards innovation, towards forms different from those already known and stabilized in the classical field.
“It is at this point that the peculiar question of the value art arose. For the mimetic theory, by its very terms, challenges art to justify itself.”*
The style and vision shown by Smaro Gregoriadou was, and still is, very different from Plato’s “mimesis”, with a focus not only on the content of the music she interpreted, but, above all, on the “form”.
“It is the defence of art which givesbirth to the odd vision by which something we have learned to call ‘content’, and to the well-intentioned move which makes content essential and form accessory.”*
An attention that still seems to be in the strings of the classical guitar of this excellent interpreter, who has returned to the attention of the Neuguitars blog in this sad 2020, with this excellent cd “A Healing Fire”.
She could not find a fairer title for the difficult times we are experiencing: we all need a healer. Music has always evoked this thaumaturgical, healing and shamanic power. The music that we find in this cd (BACH, JS / BRITTEN, B. / GUBAIDULINA, S. / HÉTU, J.) all seem to go in a different direction from that of a “normal” classical guitar recital: here we do not applaud clearly to the virtuoso skills of the interpreter, here we do not enter into the merits of the content of the music proposed (content already more than evident), here we reflect on a new stylistic path expressed by a combination of music that expresses a desire, a will, hope of recovery.
Covid-19 has not only affected us physically and economically. When, at last, we will have left behind this ugly chapter of our history behind us, we will have before us a painful path of care for our memory, for our psyche and for our soul. This record, with its title so direct and with its music so inspired, puts us directly in front of what we ourselves are now. Each of us. I quoted some passages from Susan Sontag’s brilliant essay, “Against Interpretation” of 1964, because I believe that continuing to question at this moment on the content of the art expressed by Gregoriadou is a Manichean act. Here we are not asking ourselves about the Platonic idea of the usefulness of art or even about its being necessary, as some political choices made at the national level seem to suggest.
I believe that Smaro Gregoriadou implicitly wanted to go further with this recital, where, in fact, the presence of J.S. Bach alongside more contemporary authors. Only a superficial person could object to this choice, which I find absolutely coherent and natural: Bach is probably the most contemporary author we can rely on. His music is timeless because for centuries he continued to inspire and push to innovate generations of composers and performers, as well as to express precisely that desire for physical, mental and spiritual health that shines through the music of this excellent CD.
In the end, Albert Ayler was right: “Music is the healing force of the Universe”!