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<<  -- 2 --  Gordon Rumson    DULL MUSIC


To begin, the performers.

Has anyone ever looked at the faces of classical music performers, especially the symphonic types, and noticed their expressions? It is not concentration. It is acute ennui caused by relentless repetition without sufficient satisfaction.

The modern orchestra is but a factory and we all know the tedium of factory line work. The absurdity of the method was once effectively mocked in an I Love Lucy episode involving chocolate cream candies. Such humour cannot hide the problem. Workers are but another implement of the assembly line, of little value in themselves and deprived of meaningful tasks. Trapped in an endless dull and mind numbing factory routine is it any wonder that the orchestra members are tired, bored and play poorly?

For they do play poorly. Mere technique aside, what is evidently missing from the modern orchestra is magic. Perfect surface, disguising an utter lack of enchantment.

And these musicians are led by professional, pedestrian, bored and boring but accurate conductors. It is the triumph of the MBA in music.

And as John Ralston Saul has pointed out, the failures of the MBAs, the companies which go under while the CEOs are overpaid, are innumerable. So too in music we find relentlessly dreary conductors paid extravagant amounts for performances which are dull as dishwater.

I suggest that musicians learn that music is more than the dots on the page. Real music is a profound existential moment of pure creativity which joins performer, audience, composer and the universe in a harmoniously sounding union. When music is experienced in this fashion, either numbers won't matter or the music will appeal.

When musicians retrieve the magic of music they will enhance their own creativity and the audiences will recognize it.

Thus, the musicians.

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Copyright © 27 December 2002 Gordon Rumson, Calgary, Alberta, Canada


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