Monday, April 30, 2012

Distorted By The Classical Mess

Bruce Lee did not stress the memorization of solo training forms or "Kata", as most traditional styles do in their beginning-level training. He often compared doing forms without an opponent to attempting to learn to swim on dry land. Lee believed that real combat was alive and dynamic. Circumstances in a fight change from millisecond to millisecond, and thus pre-arranged patterns and techniques are not adequate in dealing with such a changing situation. As an anecdote to this thinking, Lee once wrote an epitaph which read: ‘In memory of a once fluid man, crammed and distorted by the classical mess

The plight of child prodigies in particular was revealed in a provocative autobiographical memoir called ‘Forbidden Childhood’ by pianist Ruth Slenczynska (b. 1925). Slenczynska’s account stands as a warning against “stage mothers and fathers” in the music world. It’s worth noting, for those addicted to the spectacle of young, emotionally undeveloped virtuosos tackling the deepest works of the piano literature, that in its archaic meaning, “prodigy” derives from ‘prodigium,’ the Latin word for “omen” and “monster” (rather than “artist”).

I disliked “A Natural History
of the Piano”
but I read the book
because the book is full of history
but like many books in the modern world
the author doesn’t try to distinguish
between all the different histories—
the boring ones, the bad ones, the good ones.

So maybe Franz Liszt hired women to faint
when he played some passage very quickly,
and the rest of the women at the show
believed it was the dramatic playing.

Some writers write the way some women faint.

But it was worth struggling through the snake oil
to get the bit about ‘prodigium’
not meaning ‘artist’ but rather ‘monster.’

Up to a point Chopin was friends with Liszt.

Now that point’s just another history.

No comments: