Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Art in the Open, Hidden

Has anyone else read Gene Weingarten's Washington Post story about world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell playing a Stradivarius while incognito in a rail-station in Washington, D.C.? Basically, Weingarten got Bell to agree to play for an hour in disguise as just an ordinary busker. The results, needless to say, were extremely surprising...

I have to admit, I was quite moved by this story. Although I think the reason has something to do with the way that we recognize (or, more often, fail to recognize) something beautiful even when it's right in front of us, what really got me were the stories of the few people who understand, even if only on some intuitive level, that what they were seeing was indeed something special and out of the ordinary. The fact that the people who stopped to watch don't fall into any specific set of racial, gender, or age categories makes me want to speak in flowery language about the power of art to transcend boundaries and reach people that don't even care to be reached, but I'll restrain myself. Still, good article. Well worth reading.


Megan said...

I loved this article. One of my favorite bits, and something that got me a little choked up was this: "he got his first music lessons when he was a 4-year-old in Bloomington, Ind. His parents, both psychologists, decided formal training might be a good idea after they saw that their son had strung rubber bands across his dresser drawers and was replicating classical tunes by ear, moving drawers in and out to vary the pitch."
Can you imagine what might have happened (and what undoubtably happens to other children) if his parents didn't have the means and desire to allow his talent to flourish?
That, and the Brahms quote. Beautiful!

forsythia said...

Just listening to the little film clip was enough to carry me away. Speaking of being carried away, I should stop reading and blogging now. I should walk the dogs. I should call my aunt. I should---