‘The Expressible and the Inexpressible Conference’: Goetz Richter

This post is second in a series of responses to papers delivered at the Biennial Conference on Philosophy, Religion and Culture at the Catholic Institute of Sydney, 5th-7th October 2012.

What about the Inexpressible in Music?  Musical Performance as Embodied, Spiritual Exercise

Goetz Richter, Sydney University (Conservatorium of Music)

Apparently, Kierkegaard once said that music is properly described as ‘erotic’.  This is the first phrase I jotted down in the paper given by Sydney Conservatorium’s Goetz Richter!   A great way to wake up the mind on a sleep Saturday morning in Sydney!!

Goetz has a passion for the philosophy of music as he seeks to describe music’s capacity to move human beings deep down in their soul.  As such, he argued that music is a form of spiritual knowledge, though not of an esoteric kind.  U.S. philosopher Richard Schusterman speaks of ‘somaethetics‘; i.e. body aesthetics or bodily experience of beauty.  Music is movement as much as it is sound, just as contemplative silence is embodied rather than disembodied.

Von Balthasar developed a theological aesthetics; i.e. a method of theology which starts with the observation of beauty.  Perhaps theology is more properly a somaesthetics!  Wow – big thoughts!

You can read more about Schusterman’s somaethetics here.
You can visit Goetz’s homepage here.

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