Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just A Thought: A Bell-Ringing Quote

“If I might begin a slight rant about one of the problems I find -- even on websites like It's a good thing that people talk about [the violin]. But if you go on YouTube – especially among young people, they have this sort of competition-type attitude when they listen to violinists play.

They make comments like, "This person sucks." If one says someone plays something well, the idea that you need to trash someone else. Of course, you have your favorite. But I think it's really important for young people to open their minds to other ways of playing and other ways of appreciating music.

I find that it's sort of a novice mistake. I find it even more among complete amateurs, who are not even in music at all. They've grown up with their one recording of a piece. They'll complain to me, "Oh, I heard this opera sung by this person. And oh, it's terrible, because it should be this way." Because this is the way they view that piece.

They're not able to open up their minds and enjoy it on the terms that the person is presenting it – as a performance. I'm guilty as much as anybody. But if you can unblock yourself and try to get inside an interpretation of someone that may be eccentric, or listen to an old Mischa Elman, without saying, "Oh God, those gross slides. Listen to the tasteless stuff." If you can try to get beyond that, and really see the poetry that's underneath it -- it's a different sound. There's room for a lot of ways of playing. That's what makes it so rich and interesting in the musical world.”
                   - Joshua Bell, Interview with Laurie Nils for (August 2008)


Anonymous said...

Oh boy, that Sarah goes way down low! Tried to watch the Battle clip but found the yellow and pink too distracting. Interesting observations from young Bell.
( don't work too hard! )

stray said...

A good point well illustrated. I tend to think the odds of anyone stumbling into the business of playing classical music are so low -- and singing opera? srsly?? -- that it's a not-so- minor miracle that anyone does it at all. And so yay for them as do, even if they don't sound much like [name of eternally enshrined diva/divo] in [requisite signature role].

That said, I have had my share of uncharitable moments.

Smorg said...

Hiya Eyes: That's The Vaughan indeed! ;oD I know some people think it betrays my bad taste, but I love that earthy dusky deep chest depth of the female voice. It's ugly beautiful! ;o)

Hiya Stray: Hear! Hear! I usually reserve my uncharitable moments to stage directors, though I do have soft spots for singers, too. The bad ones don't bother me as much as the indifferent ones... ;o)

Thanks for stopping by, lasses! Hope your weekend has started well!