19. February 2008 · Comments Off on What IS Our Responsibility · Categories: Links, Listen, Ramble

This gets me thinking. Well, just a little. (I’m rather lazy at the moment.)

As a musician, what is my responsibility when it comes to the audience? Some audience members have said we need to smile more. We need to look happy. I remember a minister’s wife telling the musicians we should smile while we play. (Yeah, really.) Of course she was also the one to critique a concert by commenting on the conductor’s clothes. So whatever.

I don’t think we should make an audience uncomfortable. Except when we should! An audience should feel uncomfortable if we are playing something that IS uncomfortable, yes? I’m not talking technically uncomfortable and difficult but, for instance, the work Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. (This is a link to Rhapsody so don’t go there if you don’t want to hear it and/or use up a free download.) If the audience walks away beaming, I’m guessing they didn’t really get it. Or the orchestra didn’t do their job correctly. Or something is very, very wrong with the world. (San Jose Symphony (RIP) actually played this in 1999, with composer Krzysztof Penderecki at the podium. We also played his 4th symphony, which had a fabulous English horn part that I was blessed to play.)

I do believe we shouldn’t make the audience feel as if they are struggling because we are struggling. I really don’t want an audience member to come up to me saying, “Man, that sounded SO HARD! I was so nervous for you!” Of course some will say that no matter, but still ….

Anyway, sometimes I do wonder about my responsibility as … hmmm … am I an entertainer? Gee. I dunno. Seems like if you go to see an “entertainer” you get to have drinks at your table. 😉

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