Sunday, September 30, 2007

Conformity and Uniformity

I had Klinton Helms as my companion at the Alabama Symphony Concert last night. Chris Leitten was also there, but sat where he could see the piano soloist's hands. What a pleasure to treat such a promising young musician to his first symphony concert. Klinton seemed to soak up the experience through every pore.

If I had the power of Haydn's prince, I would have had the orchestra repeat Symphony No. 44 immediately. It was beautiful. And the Liszt piece with Mr. von Oeyen suited my turbulent mental state. Chris must have seen some tremendous hand work--if they weren't simply a blur. Klinton liked the Beethoven the best and I will agree that I enjoyed it very much. It's lightness brightened my mood and sent me home with a smile. Thank you, Mr. Brown, Mr. von Oeyen, and the musicians of the ASO!

Justin Brown's concert comments add tremendous value to my ASO experience. He is articulate and thought-provoking. He expressed concern that the drive for perfection and the ready ability to hear recordings of other performers has led to conformity and uniformity. It takes courage to interpret a piece differently from the standard and any who attempt something different may suffer with critics. I see that with my daughter, Molly. I worry that the endless push for perfection takes the joy out of the music for her.

I took his comments on conformity and uniformity personally. It does take courage to take a stand and the critics are harsh. The harshest critic is often oneself. Self-doubt is a familiar companion in my beloved wee hours. I will bet that true musicians, those with heart and character, will proceed with their unique approach, needing to express the truth they feel. In a sense, they are whistle blowers, calling our attention to the shallowness of perfection.

"Speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills." -- Catherine of Sienna

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