Saturday, September 29

her voice pushed back the boundaries of the world

In any art there is a Higher Regularity which seems to conventional people arbitrary and to unconventional people commonplace: Irene's singing was of this sort. And of all the singers I have ever heard she was the most essentially dramatic: she could not have sung a scale without making it seem a part of someone's life, a thing of human importance. Yet when the song and her voice said: We are all dying, something else about her voice — a quality that could not be localized, that all the sounds possessed together and none possessed apart — said to you also: Whoever dies? Over feeling and act, the human reality, her voice seemed to open out into a contradicting magic of speculation and belief, into the inhuman reality men discover or create. Her voice pushed back the boundaries of the world.

-- Randall Jarrell Pictures from an Institution
via Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise and Tom Myron