Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thoughts about music from conductors [5]

 Here is part 5 of a series [see part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, and part 4 here] drawing from Hilary Hahn's interviews with various conductors.

And continuing some exerpts from Hilary's very interesting interview with Grant Cooper:
HH: When you're working on a project, do you feel most connected to the orchestra, to the audience, or to the music?

GC: I think the most important thing for us as musicians is to remain focused on the music: if we're focused on the music, everything else flows. . . . Through music, one does feel really connected to people. But in the moment of performing, the best moments for me are when I'm connected to the music. The music connects me to the orchestra, and their sounds in turn connect to the audience.

A few comments:

1. Note, Cooper did not say that the important thing is to remain focused on oneself; the important thing is to remain focused on the music (the art). I point this out because I suspect it is a prevalent problem today that many artists immerse themselves in excessive self-absorption during the creative process.

2. Cooper, furthermore, by stressing that the artist place the focus on the artwork itself, is not implying that the audience should be ignored in the creative process. Indeed, he has the audience in mind. But the way in which he feels connected to the audience is through his personal immersion into the art itself. This, as well, suggests that Cooper is of the notion that there is something real in a great work of art that is under the surface, beneath the externally sensible form. There is some kind of hidden anchor tied to and leading from the music, fixed in the cosmos of meaning. If there were nothing more to a piece of music than what you hear in-the-moment, there would be nothing substantial enough to serve as a medium through which to experience a deep connection with other musicians and to the audience. Only something with some stable link to humanly significant truth about life and existence could be capable of grounding this connection among persons.

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