how to listen to music popped up on YouTube as a selection I might enjoy. But I’m grateful that it did.I’m not sure why Daniel Barenboim’s brief talk on
Next week I have the wonderful opportunity to hear Johnny Gandelsman perform Bach’s Sonatas & Partitas (March 24, 8:00PM, St. John’s Cathedral) at the innovative Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, TN. (I’ve also been asked to write about the performance.) This may be the only chance in my lifetime I have to hear the collection performed live in a single sitting. I’ve heard Gandelsman enough on recordings to know this promises to be an amazing evening. He is an extraordinary violinist. But I also know that two hours is a long time to sit and listen to one composer… even a composer whom I adore. I so desperately want to make the most out of this experience. But I’ve been questioning whether I’m up to the task.
Then along came Barenboim. He reminds us that we must be focused and will ourselves to let the music in.
He reminds us that we must give ourselves over to the music, just as we would give ourselves over to a person we love. He reminds us that music is “everything at the same time." It doesn’t just make us laugh or cry... it does both, simultaneously. As I listened to Barenboim, I was reminded that listening is not a passive experience, but an active form of participation. As he so aptly states, we must “hang on to the first note and then fly with the music.”
As a performer myself, I understand how my own performances have been transformed by looking into the audience and seeing one person (sometimes literally just one person) who is engaged and transfixed. Someone who is flying with the music.
I will try to be that person for Mr. Gandelsman. I will try to convey my respect for the excruciating effort he has put into bringing this music to us in Knoxville. And I am certain that I will not be alone.
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