"Drawing from experience as a composer, teacher, and performing artist, master musician Thomas Stumpf explores the ways music can lead to an understanding of the human condition in A Sounding Mirror: Courage and Music in Our Time.
He draws upon literature, philosophy, psychology and the world's religions to illuminate the extraordinary power of music to fill our lives with beauty and wisdom. Stumpf takes issue with the superficiality and star-worship of the market-driven world of professional music, and with traditional music education that slights the intrinsic value of the musical experience.
Stumpf addresses the human need to live with authenticity, passion, courage and a vision that looks always beyond the literal. Leading his listeners from musical meanings to spiritual concepts with eloquence and wry humor, Stumpf ponders such issues as the folly of the work-versus-play mindset, the intimate relationship of music to time's inexorable passage, and the idea of musical form as a means to deal with life's apparent, terrifying randomness."
Published in 2005 by Higganum Hill Books, A Sounding Mirror is widely available on the internet, including at Amazon.com and as an ebook.
Such insights and experience, such varied quotes and great footnotes. I am deeply enriched.
- Rev. Carl Scovel, Minister Emeritus of King's Chapel, Boston
This wonderful book [is] a fearless attempt to tackle a number of thorny issues, such as why is some music 'better' than others - to which Stumpf gives a convincing answer. He is uncompromising in his search for honesty and in his analysis of our responses to music; his prescriptions are tough and demanding - but offer rich rewards. And in the process of discussing music, Stumpf sheds enormous light on the link between music and spirituality, and offers fascinating comparisons between the two. The whole is enlightened by Stumpf's palpable honesty, integrity and humility. A truly outstanding book that will tell you things about yourself, your reactions to music and your spiritual nature that you have never examined.
- F. Dunkin Webb, British composer
Every serious musician, artist and human being will find a source of inspiration and truth in this book. Reclaiming music as one of the direct expressions of our human existence Stumpf challenges commonly held superficial notions. A passionate appeal, which transcends time, culture, and religion.
- Dokuro R. Jaeckel, Osho Abbot