Benson on the Ergon within the Energeia

Another nice passage from Benson, as found in, The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue:

“So what results from the improvisatory movement of composition and performance? From musical energia grows an ergon—but an ergon that still remains within the play of musical energia, and from which it cannot be disconnected. Indeed, we might more properly say that this ergon exists as energia. Thus, improvisation provides a way of conceptualizing music that does not force us to choose between defining music as either ergon or energia. Music that is improvised endures and is yet transitory. Being transitory, its existence is very much genetic, historical, changing: but, in that it likewise endures, it has a continuing identity” (p. 125).

So many nice theological parallels come to mind! I also noticed that Benson has a nice article on Jean-Luc Marion on one of my favorite blogs, TheoPhenomenon.

2 thoughts on “Benson on the Ergon within the Energeia”

  1. Thank you for drawing this work to my attention to Benson’s insights. I have the book but haven’t dug into it.

    I appreciate the sensibilities you bring to your blogging.


  2. You are quite welcome, Bill, and thank you for your kind (and encouraging words). I wrote an essay that shares “family resemblances” with some of Benson’s insights. If you are interested,here’s the information: Nielsen, Cynthia R. “What Has Coltrane to Do With Mozart: The Dynamism and Built-in Flexibility of Music,” Expositions 3 (2009): 57–71. (If you look me up on, you should be able to download a copy of the essay.)

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