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  • Norm Adams

Separation Clarity

Today in Divonne, France, I noticed that I felt a craving to listen to classical music. 


There's lots of music playing here in Divonne, thanks to a terrific sound system that sends music to where ever you are in this great house. But it's some relatively inside jazz, and lots of 80's rock stuff. I love all that too.


But tonight I put on Mozart's Symphony #35. One of our dinner companions commented "Classical? I thought you hated that stuff!" I was a little wounded, and responded by saying "classical music is what I do!" Which is true.


And it got me to washing dishes, and thinking. Although I have some fundamental problems with old music: redundancy, tradition, repetition without really listening, out of touch with our time etc., it is what I do, and it transcends a lot. And I do love it! Don't get me wrong, I do have a fair amount of baggage tied up in this music, I've been doing it for a long time. And I have spent a fair amount of that time questioning it. I also have some great memories in this music. The fact that we can repeat it, makes the memories stick. Oftn musician's greatest memories are from our student days, when we tended to spend much more time preparing and learning different pieces. But I also have great memories from more recent times, and I have some pieces that I love to play each time I get to! 


But I also have some bad feelings associated with it all, and because we can repeat it, those stick with me too.


But the bigger point of it all is: because we can repeat it, we can listen to others play the same pieces, in concerts, or in recordings. We can separate ourselves from the memories, both good and bad, and we can just listen. Some of these pieces truly are high points in human achievement, there's no doubt. And just listening again and again, doesn't get old, it still makes these great pieces greater and greater. And because we can repeat it, and because it transcends nations and (some) cultures, and certainly time, it lives in us.


At one point tonight Schubert was playing, and Bogdan our Polish house builder housemate came down, and I asked him if he liked Schubert, and he replied "No, but I love all Beethoven Symphonia", and I agreed with him and felt proud and warm inside. It's good to be an artist.


Mar 2, 2013 at 18:12

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