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Austin, J. (2008). A Composer's Response to Riccardo Lombardi's “Time, Music, and Reverie”. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 56(4):1213-1217.

(2008). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 56(4):1213-1217

A Composer's Response to Riccardo Lombardi's “Time, Music, and Reverie” Related Papers

John Austin

After a cursory reading of Riccardo Lombardi's abstract before diving into the article itself, I jotted down a few notes: “Time Contained—Art. Early Time More Contained [than formerly]—Analysis. Early Time Uncontained—Trouble. If you posit that Art's roots are our deepest subconscious combined with our hunger for order in a chaotic world …” Finishing the sentence fragment seemed bound to be at the heart of whatever response to the article I might contribute.

Lombardi's basic point is that musical associations arising from his intense involvement with music can trigger in him states of mind that engender a sort of psychic body language helpful in creating an ambience that invites the patient's explorations. Although Arianna's similar passion for music later provided the two a shared language they could ride into her hidden world, the crucial emergences of music Lombardi writes about in both her case and Giacomo's emerged within him and remained in him, conveyed to neither of his patients.

Obviously, it is not necessary for an analyst to be a music lover capable of revelatory musical associations. Nor, in my case, was it even appropriate for my analyst to begin with a validation of composing's centrality to my identity. It was too early for that. Instead I was encouraged to cast off from music in order to facilitate a journey as unobstructed as possible by any defensive role my music might have played for decades. Letting go was scary enough in itself but even more terrifying when combined with the age-old fear that too much introspection damages creativity. Only will, desire, and trust and the motivation of pain could provoke such a casting-off and the potential emptiness it seemed to risk.

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