Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Defining Adventure

An Op-Ed essay in the NYTimes of January 9 calls attention to the extraordinary achievement-in-progress of two climbers scaling the sheer wall of El Capitaine without any tools except ropes to keep them from falling.  The purpose?  According to the insightful writer, so that they can define for themselves what constitutes adventure.

He might be describing why I play the piano or why I teach the way I do.  Listening without recourse to how one is supposed to hear gives access to the sheer genius of Beethoven, a composer now associated with good compositional practice but whose level of irony is discernible only to those who have ears sufficiently unprejudiced to discern fragile voice leading or articulations that don't make conventional sense.

No prompts, no props, just direct connection with the element of sound.  As if that were not enough.