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Monday, January 27, 2014

The Grand Pause. By John von Daler

                     In music they call it the Grand Pause. Not all composers have used it. You have to want to clear the air of notes, to take a break from sound. It is like being at a big party where you leave the large, crowded, noisy salon and go out onto a balcony overlooking a garden. You close the door behind you and enjoy the view for a moment in deep silence.

                Such a pause also occurs in life. I experienced one recently when a good friend got seriously ill. Everything stopped. Stillness covered our lives.
                In music the Grand Pause is always followed by the reinstatement of the music. In the case of my good friend the return to our lives, even as he lay in a coma, was accompanied by a worried sense of futility: why have we learned to carry on, to go on living despite tragedies? A kind of bad conscience accompanies our return to life. How can we carry on living when someone so dear to us is suffering?
                Is this the awful essence of the will to live: a Grand Pause, then a shaking off of the burden and a return to the living? The music starts again and there we are dancing to it, a little forlorn, perhaps lost in thought, and wanting to subscribe to some logic that will put everything in place.
                Those of us who do not look upwards toward an all-powerful god are left after the Grand Pause with a heavy minor sostenuto chord resonating at the base of our lives. It goes on and on, dissonant, without meaning, ill-placed and absurd. But we learn to live with it.

My book, Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing) will be published tomorrow, January 28. Order through, the publisher or your local bookstore. Please feel free to write a short review of "Pieces" in your own language at or GoodReads. Thanks for your support!

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