Monday, April 21, 2008

Let's talk about music

My friend Steve has a blog.

Just so there's no confusion let me say up front that Steve is one of the smartest people I know. He knows all about TV journalism.

But he doesn't know squat about music. I say that affectionately. We all can't be perfect. I'm certainly not! **wink**

Exhibit "A" is Steve's post over the weekend on his blog. If you know anything about music and you've sat through an American Idol show then you know what I'm talking about.

But not to worry Steve. You have lots of company. Most Americans have no clue when it comes to good music.

Case in point: they just announced the 2008 Pulitzer prizes and Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post won for feature writing.

The idea behind Weingarten's story was deceptively simple. Stick world class violinist Joshua Bell outside a busy Washington subway station at rush hour and observe what happens.

In Weingarten's words "In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?"

Apparently not.

Presumably some of the almost 1100 people who passed the violinist during Weingarten's experiment were patrons of the arts.

You know the kind; the ones who get dressed up in tuxedos and attend opening night at the symphony and pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to mingle with the musicians and opera singers and get their pictures published in the paper to prove that they really love the arts.

But on that morning apparently not that many people stopped to listen. And at least one of those was an admitted classical music fan.

So, you are not alone Steve.

There are millions of people who profess to know all about music. But when it comes right down to it, they apparently can't appreciate it unless they are dressed in tux and tails and sipping champagne.

They just don't have time for a guy who's fiddling around outside a subway station.

Listen to Bell's performance here.

NOTE: In a similar vein Bruce Springsteen performed on a street in Amsterdam about 20 years ago. Unsure if that many people recognized him but he certainly had a larger audience.

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