This famous inscription at the top of Beethoven's manuscript of his greatest work, The Missa Solemnis, expresses an intention that many artists and composers might have in the act of creation.
Larger themes of life, the common experiences which bind humanity together, such as those expressed in the great novels of Thomas Wolfe, the great choral works of the 19th century, or paintings from every era, seem in short order in our highly compressed, technologically-driven, "marketed" contemporary art world.
Is there room in our time and our minds for those larger, profoundly-human ideas which move us as deeply as Beethoven's music? Is there a place for that intimacy?
Beethoven was an angry, argumentative, frustrated man who lost his hearing, was isolated from a normal, affectionate relationship with the woman he yearned for: a recipe for violence; except, genius combined with spiritual depth, faith, and his feeling of hope for mankind's evolution. The energy of his struggle was directed into music which inspires us and lifts us to a high spiritual plane.
Unfortunately, much of our contemporary culture reduces expression of the most extreme human emotions to mis-spelled texts, tweets, digital appropriations of other artists images, shallow lyrics of popular songs, or, at the worst, expletive-ridden speech, even wrathful, destructive, violent behavior.
How will artists channel their deepest expressions of what it means to be human, to merge the stream of art tradition with new media which offer so many possibilities for communication?
Video, performance, gigantic technological tours de force, environmental manipulations, and spectacular events overwhelm, thrill and impress. What is the residue of the experience? So many contemporary art events are unique events. So, is overwhelming sensation, alone, enduring? Is the heart involved, other than beating, temporarily, in rhythm to the event? Does it carry that rhythm into one's soul?
"From the heart---may it go to the heart." An intimate connection through art which assures us we are not alone. A criterium for all era.