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8. Juli 2011

A musician is a musician is a musician

Just recently in the middle of the night I turned on the radio and listened to a piece of baroque music. It was Cembalo and some wind instrument. Funny enough I couldn't make out which wind instrument (sounded like a mixture between trumpet and clarinet). So instead of going to bed I listened to the end. The presenter anyway said a lot about where the music came from, who composed it, who originally played it and so on. But he totally skipped the part of who played and what was played for the recording. This makes me think.

Ok, it was in the middle of the night and ok, it might have been accidentally that he skipped the actual musicians. I even assume he continued to play music with the same line-up (I went to bed since I was already pretty tired). But then again the music I listened to lasted for about ten minutes and he also kept talking for some minutes. A lot of facts and numbers, a pity I was that tired, it might actually have been funny.

So what does this mean and is it good? Obviously for music before audio recording the composer still seems to be of greater importance than the interpreter. If you think about looking at classical CDs, the first thing to categorize will probably be to read about the composer and the kind of music. If you happen to be that kind of geek you maybe know the interpreter and maybe can make something out of his name.

And concerning classical music even the orchestration seems to be of less importance. Well speaking about orchestration I actually assume that for popular music it is of even less importance providing you know the frontman who happens to be identified as the composer which most of the times he surely is not.

So why do musicians spend so much time and energy in their education. Why do they travel around the world, take their stress and fake-fame on stage and with the exception of a very few of them never make it to the long-lasting history books? Do they expect or hope for different or are they just kind of slaves of their arts?

And what does it mean for improvised music? The music I imagine, the music I do doesn't even fit on any recording. One cannot put the ambience, the audience, the weather and all the other surroundings on a CD, DVD or Blue-Ray. So the moment I stop playing the music is gone. Anything referring to it might be but a weak glimpse of what it actually was. So why is this my choice?

I think that the only explanation is that there is no choice. If you happen to be a musician you can't fight it, you have to stick with it, you gotta do what you gotta do. Coming to think of it, I actually think that I have tried to stop playing the trumpet some time ago. But as a matter of fact only on stage, playing my favourite instrument I truly feel alive. After all there is no choice...

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