Edel is back!
4 weeks ago
We both removed our own producer hats that we have in our own worlds and gave them to T Bone Burnett [the album's producer] and so we were in a place that was quite magical; it was like a really, a new world for both of us.
HH: What kept you with it?
GC: I think that comes back to communication. I really find that we musicians communicate on so many different levels (one-on-one, in larger ensembles with other musicians, with the public, etc.) and in so many different ways: unspoken, mysteriously even, and through shared experiences.
He will, after all, be visiting a country where condoms are practically thrown at children. Yet sexually transmitted infections are at epidemic levels among teenagers and twentysomethings. One woman in three will have an abortion at some point in her fertile life. No one really knows how many underage pregnancies there are, because abortions on underage girls are frequently recorded as other things, if at all, in order to distort the figures. Hardcore pornography is everywhere. Lap-dancing clubs, unknown here (except perhaps in Soho, I don’t know) even only ten years ago, are now all over the place. [read the whole post here]
Q: A very compelling aspect of your profession?
A: Music is both an intellectual and an emotional pursuit, for some people even a fulfillment of a basic human need. It's wonderful to have the opportunity to conduct orchestras and be part of that musical experience – but even if I didn't conduct, I'd still study scores (Beethoven, Bruckner, Ravel, Debussy, or Strauss, or Prokofiev, for example). Music is healing, and it illustrates the soul as if in a mirror of compassionate objectivity. [emphasis mine]
Q: Classical music in schools – what difference does it make, and why is it important?
A: [. . .] An education without a significant musical component is not a proper education. Music is a language and understanding something of it as a performer or listener is an important part of a well educated mind. The musical philosophies of Beethoven and Mahler are easily appreciated as life enhancing. In the case of Shostakovich, who for some reason still baffles some listeners, he heroically articulated the despair of the human condition under the nose of Stalin at a time when his compatriots were being imprisoned in the gulag. An understanding of the language of classical music is part of understanding our civilization [. . .]
Q: A very compelling aspect of your profession?Indeed!
A: The fact that every day of my life I am dealing in some of the greatest creations of the human mind.
Central to [Richard Weaver’s] work and thought, is the argument that a late medieval rejection of transcendentals or universals renders the idea of knowing anything not immediately perceived by the senses impossible.
[. . .] This is part of the gradual orientation toward endless stimulation and the exaltation of the purely imminent. Sensation itself, it seems, has taken the place formerly held by reflection. In modern art, we see the confluence of this tyrannical egotism on the one hand, and the primacy of comfort and transitory, material, or sensual pleasure, on the other. The thesis that somewhere in the past few centuries all forms of art came to be understood as exalted self-expression is hardly novel or terribly controversial. . . . Bereft of ordering concepts that give definition to the human person and to the idea of communities, art is left to express the self in isolation. Ideals pertaining to heroism, or the family, or the city or community, the good life, or even ideals pertaining to artistic form, genre, or type, traditionally animate artistic production. Attenuated by modernity’s turn from abstract ideals these animating principles fade from view, leaving the artist stranded.
Of course, this can be felt as an intoxicating freedom at first . . . no longer does the individual with talent have to deal with tradition. But the absence of ideals is critically compounded in its effects by the simultaneous isolation of the artist. That is, a tradition also is a kind of community. . . Untune that string, and hark what discord follows. The artist is free to express himself, yes. But, he does so in a vacuum; he expresses himself, to himself. Not only ideals are absent, but so is an intelligible audience or community. No longer does Demoticus [sp?], Homer’s bard, sit at the feast and sing his epics to a wondering audience. He sits alone, instead, or perhaps before a lifeless microphone, and chants faint hymns to the cold, fruitless moon.
The egotism of this self-expression in isolation has a corollary at the other end, so-to-speak, of artistic production. How is art received? “Egotism,” says Weaver, “in work and art, is the flowering after long growth of a heresy of human destiny. The heresy . . . is that man’s destiny in the world is not to perfect himself, but to lean back in sensual enjoyment.” In other words, while the artist expresses himself to himself in isolation, the receiver of art, if I may say so, looks to amuse himself in isolation. . . . The essential observation is that what one does as a receiver of art [in contemporary society] is merely or purely sensual enjoyment rather than that same enjoyment in the course of participation in a public affirmation of a human ideal.