This evening I was fortunate enough to attend one of those little parties where a number of the guests (as well as the host) were highly talented musicians. At some point in the evening the party drifted away from the food and toward the piano room, where people took turns performing.

A number of instruments were heard from, including clarinet and ukelele, in addition to our host’s magnificent grand piano. But what really struck me was not the variety of instruments, but rather the variety of musical genres, and the unique way that each genre communicated.

The choice of music was highly eclectic. There were folk songs in abundance, from Bob Dylan to Oscar Brand to that old standby Anonymous, for obscure ditties whose origins have been lost in antiquity. There was Dave Brubeck and Cab Callaway, and various selections from the Great American Song Book.

But one work in particular was quite different — a piano piece by Brahms. This was from another world entirely. Whereas the songs required you to focus on their lyrics, to be present in a very worldly way, the Brahms took us all to a place beyond mere thought, beyond language, a place of pure emotion — a sublime region of the human soul for which there simply are no words.

I am left marveling at the sheer range of all the wondrous things we call music.

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