Director’s Desk: Art that Startles

April is poetry month. I love Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to Saint Cecilia written to a marvelous text by W.H. Auden, one of my favorite poets. (I recently enjoyed a performance by the King’s College Choir.) The refrain to the patron saint of musicians reads thus:

Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions/ To all musicians, appear and inspire/ Translated Daughter, come down and startle/ Composing mortals with immortal fire.

It seems to me this text applies to all the arts. The word ‘startle’ is perfect. Art knocks us out of the everyday, jolts us into a realm of possibility. Isn’t that why we love a visit to a museum like the Phillips?

Dorothy Kosinski, Director

2 thoughts on “Director’s Desk: Art that Startles

  1. This is beautiful. Thank you Dorothy for sharing. I have a hard time appreciating poetry – I find it hard to decipher the meaning through the words — probably stemming from the same place that makes it hard for me to learn another language. But music – ahhh. Music has the ability to bend my ear and open my mind so that the words have meaning. The arts, individually, but maybe even more powerfully, collectively, have the ability to transport us into and through reality; and as Dorothy says, “into a realm of possibility”.

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