Monday, April 09, 2007

Joshua Bell in the Subway

Joshua Bell a world renowned concert violinist was approached by writers for the Washington Post. They asked if would pose as a regular street performer in the Washington D.C. subway and they would spy on the reactions to the performance, gauge the audience, and count the coins.

I will not quote the article, you can visit it yourself. In the end the author is disappointed because only one person recognized (or gave visible sign of that recognition) Joshua Bell. Mr. Bell's performance earned him about $40.00 for one hour of work (not counting the $20 thrown in by the woman that recognized him).

You can tell the author is disappointed more did not recognize they were listening to greatness either in terms of the performer or the pieces. I have never heard the pieces they mention, but it does sound as if they were not sleepy pieces.

Not all in the article express disappointment. Some are understanding of what the daily commuter is up to. They are going to work & appointments. The majority of the commuters probably don't listen to classical music period, a fact the article does recognize.

As I have blogged here regularly, I listen to classical music. However, if I had been among the DC commuters I probably would have turned my head listened while I was in earshot, but otherwise would have kept going. While I recognize the name Joshua Bell I would not recognize his appearance. In any event it is still celebrity worship. Furthermore, the pieces he played did not register with me (don't get me wrong they are works I am now eager to hear).

Were I on vacation or otherwise at leisure than there is a fair chance I would have stopped to listen. Live music of that sort is a rare treat I appreciate.

After mass, if the organist goes off & plays an organ solo I will sit in the pew and listen until the organist quits (especially real pipe organs played by accomplished organists, my parish has both). So, I am not adverse to stopping and – listening to the roses.

However, if I have a deadline or an appointment to make, sorry, even great music gets turned down.

Labels: , ,