What is it about music that makes it so special? What is it that makes people listen and connect to an art form older than the cave paintings? How do we as artists tap into that aspect of music which people have subconsciously known for thousands of year? After reading a recent article in The New York Times by Anthony Tommasini I was struck by his understanding of the effects of music. He was discussing why the use of recent events in Opera, Movies and Theatre can be so polarizing. Works like "Klinghoffer" and "Anna Nicole" cause visceral reactions from the audience even though their is an understanding that certain artistic license has been taken. What has always drawn me to music is the ability of it to tell a story whether that story is a year old or 1,000 years old. Mr. Tommasini takes that a step further because their are aspects of a story that music is able to convey without having to explain the emotions or the context outright. He cites Nico Muhly's "Two boys," which deals with the true story of a 16 year old boy who kills a younger boy due to different voices in an Internet chat rooms. Mr. Tommasini says that its "music taps into the inarticulate teenager's sexual stirrings and confusion."
He then goes on to talk about "Klinghoffer" and that it "attempts to ruminate on a seemingly endless conflict and on what motivated these terrorists, without in any way explaining, let alone excusing, their actions. Music, with its murky, innate powers, is uniquely equipped for such and effort."
Music can help us understand the unexplainable. I think this is what I have been trying to articulate since my begging posts here on this blog. Music is more powerful then we remember to give it credit for and it is this power that we need to remember every time we put together a program, recital, concert or performance. We need to go back to the basics of what music is and focus on what the music is explaining to us even when it is unexplainable. When we utilize the innate qualities of music we will be able to evolve/continue our art form and keep the seats filled. There are not many art forms or outlets that the quality that music has. People will always search for it somewhere and we have to be that somewhere that they can find it.
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