Friday, March 11, 2005

Cresting the Concerts

I have long been fascinated by classical music as performed by chambers, orchestras, and symphonies. Not only for the beautiful music produced, but for the focused coordination of multiple supremely talented artists, building on their several contributions to reproduce the vision of a single individual: the composer.

Hours of practice apiece, daily over the course of months to prepare a work for performance. Across a 50 member ensemble this would result in roughly 1 years worth of constant work (50 x 3hrs a day avg. (volunteer orchestra in this case) x 2 months), which under normal 40 hour working conditions would require 4½ years to produce the same accomplishment for a single person.

(Granted there are exceptions to this in the form of organizations like the London Symphony Orchestra, which takes a few days to learn a piece and about a week to master it - but they've paid their dues elsewhere in honing their craft, so I don't really excuse them from the general pool of consideration.)

All this work to breathe life into the opus of a single creative mind. This to me represents vision and unity on an intimate but also awe-inspiring scale, and has been a subject of my admiration for the past many years - one of the reasons I've occasionally tried hand at composition myself, though nowhere near the degree of skill and scope of many a more apt member of the field.

Which brings me to item the 2nd: many an apt member.

There are enough orchestras / ballet troupes / sports teams & divisions / artisans of any realm, and several enough forums for dissemination of their work that one may select even the most particular formats and still glut themselves on a constant overlapping stream of this refined output.

Each player performing his or her part in turn, in much the same way that a series of water particles rise in sequence to produce a wave: a visual illusion of continuity despite the ever-altering interior. In just such a manner it is possible to surf across this moving crest of beautiful rendition, sampling only the top Nth of a percent of the full available body, but still amply sustained thereby.

It threatens to make disdainful connoisseurs of as all, spoiled by the performance of so many a perfect triple Salchow that no lesser display suffices. The work is not unremarkable - let's see Joe Six-tooth ("Cletus? Where'd you git yerself another tooth?" - "Sidewalk.") jump even 2 inches on ice with thin blades of metal strapped to his feet and land it. And yet we can easily dispense volumes of advice and critique from our cushy vantage, out here as the consumers of the franchise.

I'm reminded of the Romans, seeking out minutia even among the exotic to satisfy elegantly jaded pallets. But this article wouldn't have retained my true level of regard and respect for the subject had I named it "Parrot Tongue Artistry" or "The premium Creative Economy of Wolf-Nipple-Tips."

I believe the world to be far more beautiful for the labor, and pray the tide of inspiration continues to call it forth. For me at least, the multiplicity of masterpieces does not diminish their quality.

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