adventures in dysthymia

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Art Must Transcend

I went to see a respected and popular Florida musician last weekend. He was quite entertaining, played very well, and was totally forgettable. I can’t remember a single tune he played, now, nor any meaning to any of his songs.

Is there anything wrong with that? I guess not but I would not bother to take in his show again (nor buy any of his recordings). Technical flash has never meant much to me (despite the virtuosity of my own niece, Mean Mary). It is the end product that matters, not the process.

Yes, I believe that. I know it is an attitude that is a bit out of sync with a world that says the journey is more important than the destination. But I believe in works of art that stand on their own, with no reference to how they were created, what thoughts or concepts went into them.

All that may be interesting (or not), but it is not the work of art. Art must transcend its origins.

Today is the birthday of one of my artistic friends, the pianist known as Lynda (she is rather private so I shall give no more of her name). Lynda does not use social media much and, alas, moved off to Texas a couple years ago to take a university position there, so we communicate only by phone these days. Anyway, we were talking about me going out and helping her record an album of her electronic music sometime this summer but it looks like that is on hold now.

But there is a possibility of me dusting off my mobile recording rig and going out to document a concert down the line (when the weather cools down a little, I hope!). I actually got into the mobile business to record one of her recitals more than a decade ago.

Lynda’s playing does say something to me. Yes, she has plenty of technical ability on a keyboard but there is also something of her soul in it. I am glad I had the opportunity to be part of documenting that. And I do listen to the recordings occasionally.

In fact, I shall pull out those CDs today and give them a listen — a birthday celebration at a distance.

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