08. December 2005 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

Some years ago I was attending a high school concert in which my daughter was singing. I ran into an old acquaintance and he said he had come to see his daughter in the concert as well. It was a very informal event, and people talked throughout the “performance”, including the man I saw. I thought it very appropriate that he said he had come to see rather than to hear.

Already today I’ve read two music articles I found via Arts Journal and both articles reminded me of this hearing question. Here are two quotes:

“A lot of the people who attend our church have never had the opportunity to see something of the cultural magnitude of the Houston Symphony.”

and, regarding a new conductor at the La Scala performance:

The president of Italy, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who was present, said: “I saw it with new eyes”.

The latter is at least understandable; staging and set design can sometimes get even more attention than the music. But I usually write that I’m going to “see and hear” concerts. Sometimes I only say “hear”, in fact, knowing full well I’ll be seeing as well since it’s a live event. To me the hearing is first, and seeing is second. (Heck, I close my eyes a lot when I’m listening!) But I wonder if a lot of people don’t consider the listening part to be the primary. We are such a visual culture.

Just pondering … and more later maybe but I’m off to exercise now!

(I would love to comment on the first quote’s article, as I have very uncomfortable feelings about the Houston Symphony working together with a mega-church. And I’m a Christian so it’s not about that. The second quote’s article is about the young British conductor whose debut took place at La Scala, after the exit of Muti.)
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