For some background and a summary of my concerns and conclusions about the Chopin Voice in the Leslie Flint material, you can have a look here: https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/hearing-voices-part-iii%E2%80%93-chopin/
I’ve been trying to organize my collection of musical insights gained over the years from communications with Fryderyk Chopin. In the process, I came across a presentation given by the Chopin Voice to Leslie Flint’s sitters on February 25, 1955. It contains some comments that so many of us who play Chopin’s works would find greatly comforting, especially those whose physical ability often lags behind their understanding of the music and the depth of their connection to it. Some of you may feel that this is all too sweet, too good to be true, or too religious-sounding for your taste. I understand, but it’s worth putting in front of you nonetheless, and what the Voice says does fit my experience of him.
Today is a good day for me to hear this message again. I’ve been exploring the emotional landscape of Chopin’s E major étude, Op. 10 No. 3, which he composed at the age of 22, too inexperienced to fully understand what he himself was writing, one might think. It’s one of those pieces that seems like the angels of music must have been whispering in his ear with special clarity. I’m at a point where I have a solid understanding and deep feeling of the meaning of the piece and the story it tells– or at least, one possible story– but I am not yet quite where I can stay immersed in the emotional and psychological experience and bring all that to the listener because I just don’t have complete physical control of the entire piece. I will soon. Really! It’s exciting to be so close to something so wondrous, but of course you know how frustrating it can be too.
Rose Creet, you may remember, was a great fan of Chopin and a dear friend to this version of him. At one point in another year, the Voice half-joked to her that sometimes he listened to her playing and said to himself, “Hmm. She is get a little better.” I can only hope that at times he says that about me! I do think that he is often quite aware of what I am doing technically, what the actual sound is, and how close I am getting to a clear physical expression of the music. But it makes perfect sense that it would be easier for him to perceive a player’s emotional state and thought patterns than to hear the molecular vibrations of the Earth-plane air.
I transcribed this session from an online recording at http://www.leslieflint.com. Between the Voice’s rather bumpy English and my inability to hear clearly at many moments, there are likely a fair number of errors. I’ve added question marks in instances when I just couldn’t be sure. I’ve also bolded passages that I think are of particular interest to players. Here goes:
Sitters: Rose Creet, Leslie Mannington[?]
Voice: Madame et monsieur, good evening.
Rose and others: Good evening.
Voice: Well, you have not said it, but it is me all right.
Rose: Yes, I know. Frederic.
Voice: It is.
Rose: Yes, Frederic. And we’re so happy you have come to us again.
Voice: I was trying to think what I should speak to you about this evening, and I thought the most appropriate thing would be what is common to our hearts, music.
Rose: Yes, please.
Voice: I have tried very much to find a way of expressing certain things to you regarding music in the spheres of love, but I don’t know how I am going to find the words which can possibly give you the right understanding. I think the best comparison, the best way to do it, is to tell you that that which is music to you on Earth, beautiful though it is, important though it is, and essential as it is to those who feel and know and understand these things, yet in comparison to the things of spirit, where music is supreme, it is infinitesimal. When I think of the compositions, the music that I have written in my Earth life, although I am in a sense pleased with it, I realize it is so small in comparison to that which I have been able to do here. Here there are no limitations. On Earth, I used to struggle… ah! the limitations seemed many. Things that I had in my heart, in my brain, things that were running through me— I just found that sometimes the compass of the instrument was insufficient. There were notes that in my heart I had felt so strongly, that could not be expressed, for the instrument was insufficient.
Here, there is such a wide range. You see, here we are not limited as you are. You can only hear to a certain pitch, or to a certain point. Beyond that your ears do not hear. With us it is different. There is a much greater range of which we can hear. And in consequence the instruments which we have are composed or [?] made in a much larger scale. Therefore, we can strike notes and chords and create harmonies which are beyond your imagination. Take something which you think today on Earth is a grand study, or something that is a great flowing piece of work, with great harmonies, great though it is, it is so small in comparison. As the spirit is larger in its experience and in its wisdom and in its knowledge and in its expression when it is freed from the physical body and the earthly condition, so is music also. It is only the limitation of the Earth that limit the human heart, that limit the human ability to create.
Any artist who is an artist, whether it is in music or in any other field of activity, as you know, often will express the same thing. He will say, “Ah! I just cannot get it. I do not feel, and it just will not come.” He has the moment of mood, when he knows that he can do a work, and he will go at it day and night until it is accomplished, and then no doubt he will sit back and think, “Well, it is finished, but it is not as I would quite have liked.” In other words, his materials limit him, and yet what he has created is accepted by the world as a great work, which it is, within the limitations of the Earth. But here, where there are no limitations, where the power of the spirit is such that a man can become as great as he desires in a spiritual sense, and his work can become also as great, there are no limitations to those who strive, to those who seek, to those who try to express that part of God which is in themselves. For in music is God, as indeed are in all things that are good. There is the prize[?] and the heart and the emotion of the Most High. For we see with the eyes that are not of the Earth, and we hear with the ears that are not of the Earth, and we express in volume and intensity, with things which cannot be confined as you understand it in a material sense. All the limitations of the artist are broken over here, and he or she can accomplish great things. And all those things are an expression not only of man himself, but of God working through man. For God is perfection, and all we who are artists are striving for perfection in our art. In other words, we are all becoming more like God, part of God, and in consequence our work and art grows also.
And therefore, in the different spheres you find that as those who have gone through one sphere to the other of progress, they leave behind in their particular sphere (the same as when a person leave your world to come to this), they leave behind some expression of God, some expression of the emotion of the spirit and the beauty of the spirit in all its purity and grace. In my life, I try to leave behind some expression of God in my work, and the artists and the poets, and all those who strive to express themselves, the soul, which is a part of God, have left behind a heritage for those who follow after. And so in the spheres as we progress from one to the other, as we learn and assimilate and utilize all the opportunities in each particular individual sphere in which we live, we create and leave behind for those who come from your world into that particular sphere some of ourselves, to leave behind in love to help those who follow after, the same as those musicians in your world today take the works of the great masters and find in them great beauty and reverence and harmony and sound of… great, joyous music. They feel and know there is some part of God in the soul of a musician who has made progress beyond material things.
So it is that we all help each other. We are all brothers and sisters. You were surprised, long time ago, when I first come to you. For a long time you could not really believe it. You thought, “Ah, it is not possible. Why should he come to me?” because you are humble in spirit, because you realize the greatness in music, you realize the greatness in art, and you realize too that there was some part of the soul, and you felt perhaps you could not touch it. But my child, that is exactly what we are striving to do, to touch you, that you might in some measure link with us in harmony of the spheres. It is our gift to humanity to help those who follow after, that they might be inspired also to express and to give to the world in the darkness in which it finds itself the harmony and the love of the spheres which is expressed in the music that we have been able to give through our sojourn on Earth. We are all tied together in bond of love and affection.
Music is the harmony of love which flows through all human beings and links us together. In my music when you play it you are touching my soul, and I am conscious of it. When you love it and when you try to express it with all that you have to give to it, I am conscious of it, and when I find there is such love, then I am drawn. And how often we have striven from this side, to make links with people on Earth, who do not understand. There are here and there a few artists, a few people in music who, though they do not know the meaning of what you call spiritualism, yet in their deeper selves there is a consciousness of being attached through the music with the soul who created it, and they try to express it. And if they are good artists, if they are talented, if they have a natural ability, then we can use them, as we often do, trying to help those that are struggling in your world as we would have liked to have been helped, and often were, when on Earth. So we strive to help them. There are some in your world who I often help, some that you know. And so, because we love with all the fullness that love means, we do not necessarily only go to those who can become accomplished musicians in the Earth life, but to those who feel so intensely, which sometimes, in fact, I would go so far as to say is even more important than the execution of the music, for where there is an intensity of love, or a great understanding within the heart, to express, in my case, my music, then I am one with that person, and if I can help them, and help their trembling fingers over the keys, that is my joy and privilege, for I come in love to serve. For my music is to serve humanity, to help them rise above mundane things, into the harmonies of the spirit which I now enjoy.
And so it is that music links us together, much more perhaps than any other form of art, but it is in music that we find such a peace, and it is in music which we find solace in our soul who are in trouble, as I know I did so often in Earth life. For I have many times gone to the piano with a heart that was broken, and yet found peace and great harmony and great solace in it. And some of my greatest composition was done in my most terrible hour, for it is always when God calls strongest to the heart that out of it falls the harmony of the spirit, which nothing can take away from the world. For it is left behind, as indeed it is for service. For even in death, as you call it, we serve still in various ways. I am not dead; I am more alive than ever I was when on Earth, more conscious, more able to serve and to help, and greater harmonies I can now create than ever I was able to do in the confines of the material earthly body, which was always a sorrow to me, and ofttimes a nuisance. But this I know, that your love, your desire for expression of that within you, makes possible that link I have with you, and if you do not execute my work as you know you would like to do it, it is the heart within you that makes possible that link between us, the desire. It is always the desire, the sincere desire in the heart and the soul that calls to us, more than even the other things which often people around and about you admire most. I know that there is disappointment and disillusion to the artist, to the soul who strives and feels so intensely and yet whose physical… physical body has not the power to do what the heart tells them. But nevertheless, you are creating, in some sense, a great harmony, because you feel. How often do we know of people who execute technically brilliantly the work of a great composer, but there is something lacking which makes it dull and uninteresting, because it is without feeling, it is without soul. They have not touched the soul of the composer. And unless the soul of the composer is put into the technique, if it is not behind that which is being done, there is in spite of its brilliance of execution, nothing but deadness, and there is nothing but disappointment. But those who feel so intensely, those who appreciate music, and yet cannot play it, are the greater musicians, for they have something which the man with all the technique in the world has not got. He has not got God in his heart. He has not touched the heart of a musician. He has not felt that wonderful union that comes between those who so love that which is and which has been created in love. For in love do we who create music serve humanity.
Every great work of note in your world has been created, through the instrumentality of the musician, in some way, by the hand of God, for it is the hand of God that helps all those who strive to send into the Earth beauty and glorious harmony. It is the fingers of God that move behind the fingers, often the stumbling fingers, of the humble musician. For God is knowing all things, and God is expressing himself in all ways, through the artist who paints, through the musician who creates and plays, through the singer who sings the harmonies that others have composed, and all the beauties of the Earth. Always you find God, and behind the musician, God is. And when those who feel God in music, though their fingers cannot play the notes, there is a musician, there is harmony. There is glorious music, for it is music of the soul that swells out and in the spheres is heard, and we are conscious of it, and we are drawn to those who, though they want to do so much, can do so little because of the limitations of their earthly life. But their hearts are full of love, and their hearts are conscious of all the harmonies of the spheres, and their thoughts are with the great musicians and the great composers who have gone before but who have left a heritage for the children of Earth to follow. I know how you feel, and because I know how you feel, it is a joy for me to come, and to serve and to help and to bless. I do not ever feel that I am giving a second away if it is spent with those who love as you do the music that is God’s. I must go, but do not feel sad, and feel joyous, for there is great beauty in all of us. For we are all God, in harmony with each other.
Rose (in a reverent tone): Thank you, Frederic.
Male voice: Thank you, Monsieur Chopin.
3 responses to ““When you play it you are touching my soul””
A comment from back when I first transcribed this Flint session, from an e-friend across the world who is a composer and advanced pianist:
“…and i think that no matter how talented you are, the real talent is sitting and playing music for years and years, and only then the true beauty of it comes out. And about my comment, that sometimes i feel him there when i play the music, it’s like when you concentrate enough, and put all the regular stuff of the world in the side, and than you play chopin’s music with all its might, it’s like opening a door to heaven and you can see a little of the possibilities, and i frankly believe that what humanity today perceives as music, is only a fraction of something bigger….and when i play chopin’s music, i can actually feel it… that’s my opinion about it….”
Elene, very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Coincidentally, I am now reading “They Need No Candle,” by E. J. Cotton. He was a British medium of the middle of the 20th Century through whom a 15th Century artist by the name of Perugino began painting, even though Cotton had never before displayed any artistic ability. He would do the paintings while in trance and with his eyes shut. Cotton asked “why me?” and was told that more experienced painters are more difficult to influence because they are so set in their ways. Thus, they look for someone not so advanced but with aptitude. I suspect it is that way with music too. Wouldn’t Rosemary Brown fall in that category?
Mike, I bet that’s it exactly, and Rosemary Brown is a perfect example. Things were set up so that she had had just enough piano training that she wasn’t utterly lost (and so that she’d have a piano available in the house), but so little that she could not plausibly be the entire source of the music. She was a relatively blank slate for the composers to work with. However, if she’d had absolutely no idea how notes are to be written, and no aptitude for getting her fingers onto the keys, it would have been infinitely more difficult to get anything done with her, probably not even worth trying.
I do suspect that Mrs. Brown’s own musical thoughts heavily influenced some of the pieces and that this may have happened more as she developed her own musicianship over time. How much of the music was hers is still an open question for me.
In the case of the piece I mentioned in this post, Op. 10 No. 3, I and some very learned friends, including my teacher, have been embroiled in a controversy about the tempo Chopin wanted. I always naturally default to pretty much the same tempo when I play it, and that is substantially slower than what’s marked. One can see that even with a piece I don’t totally have command of yet, I have very definite ideas in my head about what I want the sound to be, many of them unconscious. Anyone attempting to control my playing, and having different ideas about the interpretation, would no doubt have a lot to contend with. In addition to my physical limitations, that is.