Listening to the conversation between Mimi Novic & Edmond Fokker Van Crayestein in her Secrets for an Inspirational Life podcast I am reminded of my own upbringing. My family is a musical one – my father plays the piano beautifully and did while I was growing up. We constantly had music in the house from Tchaikovsky all the way to our perennial favorite, Chopin, since my father is a pianist after all. Even now, years later, any time I hear Chopin I am reminded of cold New York winters hearing the radiators start rattling up, futilely attempting to warm up an old cottage in an unfashionable part of New York City, the sort of place perfect for raising children and not much else.
The podcast series focuses upon finding a serenity within the world. In the midst of so much uncertainty there is a dire need for such joy. A celebration of art is something that has become ever more important especially given the amount of introspection that seems to have become a part of daily life. With all the focus on the self it is doubly refreshing to explore creative outlets that this time has made possible, if it is possible to find a silver lining amongst such duress. Her voice and her ability to gently nudge the conversation, letting Edmond explain how he came to the violin at this moment in his life, along with what influenced him to pursue this passion.
Edmond describes with vivid detail how he follows his own muse. The long, winding journey he took to arrive at this precise moment appears to be a mixture of desire alongside chance. Among his many accomplishments are his work in conflict-ridden areas, offering a respite from the turmoil with some lovely music. His analysis on how inspiration can create beautiful art I found to be particularly compelling. Confusion between an inspired performance and a technically precise performance are in fact two very different things. With a technical performance one can replicate the same sort of scenario again and again. Inspired performances are not about perfection, some of the finest musicians like Miles Davis for example, are well-known for their missed notes. John Fahey also spoke about this need for passion and love over technical ability, spawning the American Primitive movement within folk. Rather what makes music, and art, so thrilling is experiencing the unknown, to take a chance.
Beyond his clear musical ability is his uncanny ability to tell a story. Whether it is his upbringing, from some of the advice he received about becoming an artist (to not become one, an all too familiar tune) to how he performed at Carnegie Hall, he does so with such gusto. His clear love of people and the heart with which he delivers these small anecdotes feels quite charming. Everything about his work comes through with crystal clarity, for he clearly finds joy within the world. As an additional bonus, her Secrets for an Inspirational Life podcast ends with three pieces off of his forthcoming album “From Heart to Heart”.