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Listening and hearing

Author: joe

Friday, 07 April, 2006 - 09:53

This year's Reith lectures which began broadcasting on Radio 4 this morning are delivered by Daniel Barenboim, composer, and address the fact that western culture today is a visual culture - and what we are missing out on by allowing our ears to be aneasthetised to music.

It's absolutely fascinating, and extremely enjoyable to hear him bat away condescending and stupid questions from people like David Mellor. He also talks about the idea of conscious naivete - that state a musician is in when the discipline of the instrument and the knowledge of a piece of music is subsumed, and the performance of the music can become truly possible.

I wonder if it is at all possible to achieve that kind of 'performance' in a visual medium - what could it mean? How does a visual artist 'perform' at all? When you play music, and forget what your fingers are doing, and feel only the music coming out, you can say you are performing. Can a visual artist ever say the same?

Whatever the case, the Reith lectures are unfailingly brilliant - last year's lectures about the progress of technology were fascinating - and marred only by the fact that the BBC insist on having Sue fucking Lawley chair them.

Categories: music, sound, culture, lecture, bbc,
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