Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hearing and Enjoying

In an essay in the Guardian, Maragaret Cooks wonders if one's love of music can be satisfied by listening and not performing. She writes:

"Perhaps the talent for hearing and enjoying music is actually separate from the ability to produce it. I knew a woman who was an avid concertgoer, but who was so tone deaf that even her speech was a monotone. So maybe not all listeners are failed performers; they may be maestros in their own right, unusually excelling in a private, precious, non-competitive medium."

I do think they are separate activities. As are musicianship and performance. I have known very fine musicians who play only for themselves. Hearing bits and pieces of their playing coming up the walk, thru an open window, and so one. They'd rather die then sit down and play for an audience, even if on a rare blue moon they might play a "small something" for friends.

I'd say she gets just about right with regards to the free Beethoven mp3's made available by the BBC:

"More than 650,000 copies were downloaded in the first week, suggesting that there was a preponderance of computer literate, young people seizing the day. Popularisation of culture is emphatically to be encouraged, as with the three tenors and 'Nessun Dorma', Classic FM and the Top of the Pops-style music charts, CDs entitled Wagner's Greatest Hits and the like.
The new BBC Prom season has a home page geared for family appeal. Music is good for the soul, maybe for pacification and relief of stress, and should be universally disseminated. "

and what a fine image:

"But for a memorable, timeless experience, there was nothing to match listening to a concert pianist, Alexander Block, playing a repertoire from Glinka to Shostakovitch to Gershwin, on an upright piano in the bar of our train, while we trundled round St Petersburg in the white nights of summer; the sun suspended as if by surface tension on the horizon. All of us transfixed and silent over our vodka and beer."

Read the rest here

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