Music, Discipline, and Love

February 28, 2010

A grateful ex-musician picks up on one of our themes in the New York Times.

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Music: Do It Yourself

February 22, 2010

When I was a young child, some adult asked me whether or not I liked a certain piece of music. My reply: “I like it when I play it.” The questioner and the other adults in the room laughed at me, and some foolish person said how remarkably arrogant this child was to think that a certain piano piece was more pleasurable for him when he played it than when, say, Rubinstein played it.

But I was right. And I’ve never been less arrogant in my life; in fact, I’m quite sure I not only spoke honestly when I said it, but spoke in all humility. We are not arrogant about things that give us that much deep satisfaction.

In this age of iPods, with almost all recorded music easily accessed whenever we want it, wherever we are — all things I value myself — I worry that too few of us know the pleasure (and I won’t seek out here a more impressive word than pleasure, for that’s exactly what I mean) of knowing a work from the inside and making it sound with our own efforts. Even if the level of performance is inconsistent or the interpretation is incomplete, it’s still ours in a way that few other things ever can be.

And I know Rubinstein knew just what I meant.

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Here’s a ten-year-old playing the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ. The playing is far from perfect, but I’ll bet he’s enjoying it even more than he enjoyed hearing Olivier Latry play the same instrument magnificently:

Music’s Social-Media Economy

February 20, 2010

An Australian band member explains it all for you.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Michael Kaiser is Sorry

February 18, 2010

But not for his principles.

We have noted here his continuing campaign for great art in the midst of economic downturn. He is feeling the heat from bean-counters in the arts with whom the financial buck stops. Here he replies to them.

And so does a sense of fun.

I have often heard Olivier Latry improvise and have heard two of the others as well. But I’ve never heard them all together until this remarkable event:

Tip of the hat to Stephen Best

UPDATE: And now comes a newly-posted video of an organist improvising in a Greenwich Village club, and on the piano:

The Musicology of the Future

February 16, 2010

How will the Beatles be studied a thousand years from now?

A Sliver of the Pie

February 11, 2010

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals a dandy area for growth in support of the arts in cash-strapped times. As the chart above communicates, sport, hobby, cultural, and arts organizations combined receive only 3.4% of the really quite massive volunteer effort in the United States.