Aristotle´s musical guide to emotions / with some pictures


The English Seminar Choir and his Musical Director, Michel Uhlmann, have taken on Aristotle as their coach.  As we explore his teachings, we have been convinced that singing is very good to help us manage our emotional life.  But Aristotle also teaches us much more: for example why people like to listen to singers, and also what relief music can bring in one’s normal life. 

Aristotle was not the only one to guide our voices in expressing sentiments and giving listeners the occasion to process their own emotions. It was Charles Le Brun, the painter of Louis XIV, whose series of drawings simply and powerfully depict a range of emotions – one of the earliest series of “emoticons” from the end of the 17th century. Charles Darwin’s third major work on evolutionary theory “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals” articulated his belief in a single origin for the entire human species, supported by evidence of universal human expressions and from that, taught us that all humans are equal.

We will tell you all about these stories in our next program to be heard in December 2017.  The Christmas Villancico “El Fuego” by Mateo Flecha will be the central piece, a powerfully emotional work about the fire of our desires. Other songs include Hugo Distlers’ “Lebewohl”, and the old Irish folksong “Oh! Breathe not his name”, the “Ich brinn” from Hassler, and a piece from the astonishing 1719 collection “A Cure for Melancholy”.  Additional works include Ann Boleyn’s last poem “O Death, Rock Me Asleep”, Verdi’s “O Padre Nostro” and other pieces from our repertoire.