Thursday, July 31, 2014

Is It Phenomenology?

Imagining that a work of art exists only in the eye of the beholder/listener/reader is an excellent clue to the way I approach performance.  If I can make your hearing come alive the performance is successful, indeed, the work is successful.

I long ago came to the conclusion that the purpose of all art is to make contact between human beings, alive or no longer bodily alive.

If I recognize in any single sound written however many centuries ago a sound that literally "turns me on" then I know I am not alone in the universe.  This was actually what happened to me as a young child when certain sounds in Mozart's piano music spoke to me as if he were there alongside me in the room.

I knew absolutely nothing about Mozart except that he had lived some 200 years earlier.  I had never heard a note of his either on the radio or on recordings -- such things hardly existed in private homes when I was a child.  The radio that did exist was never tuned to a station that played classical music, if there even was such a thing in Chicago in the 1940's.

I stand firmly by this statement about the purpose of the masterworks.  It figures centrally in the presentation I will be making in Korea exactly one week from today.  Wish me luck.