Beyond entertainment

You may have seen a fascinating article in the Aug 27 issue of The New Yorker about the extraordinary German violinist Christian Tetzlaff. Here is a quote from him from the article. He speaks specifically about the music of Bach, but his comments, particularly the last sentence, are very germane to why it is that we value the experience of live concerts.

“Bach’s music confronts the player and the audience in a very personal situation. … [The music requires me] to put away pretensions – in levels of violin playing, pretensions of being a strong man, of being invulnerable – and instead say, ‘This is where all of us have common ground.’ Most of the time we tell ourselves ‘I’m confident’ or ‘I’m doing well.’ But then, in a moment alone at home, you feel how close you are to some kind of abyss.”

“Music, even at terrible moments, can make you accept so much more – accept your dark sides, or the things that happen to you. Maybe it’s just because you see that this is a common trait for all of us. You see that we are not alone.”

“And that’s what the concert situation is about for me, whether I’m sitting in the hall or playing myself. It’s about communication – I almost want to say ‘communion’. As a player, you really don’t interpret anymore. You listen, together, with the audience.”

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