A wonderful experiment conducted in a Washington DC Metro station. Playing some of the greatest music the human race has created, one of the finest violinists in the world anonymously busks: will his art cut through the rush and bustle of the commuters’ morning? Will a crowd form?
I love this article and find it very moving. It’s a splendid modern demonstration of the question of context and presentation in art, and what is required to form aesthetic appreciation. And it’s a fun stunt too. (I’m tempted to try a similar thing in London to see how it works with Europeans.)
At one point, the journalist talks about infants having an innate delight in the rhythms of music and poetry which is ‘choked out of us’ as we grow up. A similar thought has been raised concerning magic by a great magician called Paul Harris: that a baby is constantly surprised at his world, and that as we grow up and learn about our environment, we experience astonishment less and less. Harris sees the work of the magician as a way of taking people back to an almost primal state of wonder. Which may be true, though in both cases, clearly much depends upon the quality of the performance.
Apropos of such things, I recently read a terrific book called This is Your Brain on Music which is an extraordinary insight into music and how it works upon us. Well worth a read – it celebrates all types of music, so there’s no need for specialist classical knowledge.
If any of you were at the filming for the first episode of The Event last night, then thank you for coming and I hope you enjoyed yourselves. Good morning.