This Sunday’s Washington Post featured two great articles about getting to know music. The first, by Geoff Edgers follows American orchestras’ efforts to expand their listener base using digital media. The second article, by Anne Midgette, discusses pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s recent exploration of Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier.
More deeply knowing art is like getting to know people. Artists pour their humanity into their works. So a piece of art (be it music, sculpture, photography etc.) has its own identity independent of me. I have to humble myself, to open myself to that identity. I interact with the art, but I don’t get to control the art or define it. I treat it as another subject (not an object).
Aimard touches on this dynamic when he reflects, “You just have to be in contact with this music as rightly as possible, as sincerely as possible, as generously as possible.” Commenting on LiveNote, an app for concertgoers, Edgers remarks, “…I developed a better sense of how to experience the performance… I felt connected to what was going on in the hall musically but realized that there was a crutch [i.e. LiveNote] if I got curious or confused.”
Just as a good friend helps me navigate my day, getting to know art at a “person-al” level can too. So be sure to explore podcasts, wiki-articles, apps and yes, even traditional bound books as you’re getting to know DC’s cultural resources in a deeper way. You might be amazed at the results.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard will perform this Friday as part of the Library of Congress’ annual music series. See “Touring Tips” for some easy-access concert venues I’ve been to.