The problem in Barenboim's analyis though, is the very humanity of the musical experience he identifies. Because surely, when we get metaphysical about music, what we are looking for is an escape from ourselves, a direct glimpse of something transcendental, something objective if inchoate, a grappling with time and timelessness, with being and not-being, which goes beyond the messy subjectivity of our day to day perceptions and our all too limited language. We still long to grant musical discourse a special relationship with the world, we hanker after the music of the spheres. "Such harmony", Lorenzo says to Jessica in The Merchant of Venice, "is in immortal souls;/But whilst this muddy vesture of decay/Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it." Romanticism's claim for our musical tradition is that in it, we hear some echo of the cosmos.
In the baldest sense this is pretentious nonsense. Music is a language, with a syntax which, whether generated by culture or embedded in our genetic make-up - or, most likely, a combination of both - is just as bound to us, to our humanity and our limited cognition, as ordinary language. There is no magical escape from the bounds of the human, from the veil of unknowing, the bonds of time.
And yet: In the same way that the metaphysicians - Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Jaspers - try to approach the unsayable and the unknowable, to break out of the limits of language and give at least an inkling, however illegitimate an inkling, of the nature of being and time (and I have to say that their attempts have never persuaded me, not that I'm a philosopher), music grapples with the sublime and the transcendent. In doing so it uses a language which, in its very lack of a proper semantics, its lack of definition, its continual striving to speak without actually speaking (or in the case of vocal music, saying so much more than is actually said), reaches outside itself more credibly than the jargon of the philosophers.