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An experiment in beauty

post #1 of 84
Thread Starter 
How many people would recognize world-class music making in the subway? The Washington Post plants Joshua Bell as a street musician near a Metro station to see what happens.

Pearls Before Breakfast
Gene Weingarten, Washington Post

No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?
post #2 of 84
Should the title be changed to "Pearls before Swine"?
post #3 of 84
Originally Posted by LabelKing View Post
Should the title be changed to "Pearls before Swine"?
funny. *EDIT* just read the whole article. very, very interesting read. thanks andre.
post #4 of 84
This article brings me very nearly to think that people could just ignore such beautiful music.
post #5 of 84
great article, thanks.

I thought this part was insightful:
For many of us, the explosion in technology has perversely limited, not expanded, our exposure to new experiences. Increasingly, we get our news from sources that think as we already do. And with iPods, we hear what we already know; we program our own playlists.
post #6 of 84
Read that yesterday, very good article.
post #7 of 84
great article. thanks for the link AY.

post #8 of 84
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Augusto86 View Post
This article brings me very nearly to think that people could just ignore such beautiful music.

This surprisingly is not an uncommon reaction according to the author. There's a link on that page that links to a discussion about the article and how they went about interviewing people that talks more about this:

post #9 of 84
I have noticed a lot of people--young and old--who walk around with iPod earphones in their ears.
post #10 of 84
High art or not, the music is absolutely beautiful. Not everyone may have a few minutes to spend listening to it, but not to bother even slowing down? Our daily lives are becoming ritualistic acts of suffering, which are to be sped up and robotized. No thinking, no feeling, no enjoying...just waiting for the commute/work/lunch/life to pass. If we are unwilling to stop the routine for one minute in order to enjoy moving and plainly virtuosic music, we are certainly unwilling to stop for longer to actually participate in creation of something beautiful. And on top of it all, we have the audacity to complain that art is in a downfall.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
post #11 of 84
i just read the beginning of the article and i think the whole premise is over analyzing a bit. regardless of how talented the musician is, most people simply do not like classical music. this experiment is really no different than saying that when the vast majority of people scan thru their radios, they skip the classical station. if they're flipping thru their t.v. and this guy is on, playing the exact same music, in a great hall, wearing black tie, most people will change the channel. it seems to me this article only serves to state the obvious.
post #12 of 84
I saw a guy playing violin in downtown Seattle a month ago or so, and he was really, really good. He wasn't all dressed up or anything, but there were still quite a few people standing around listening to it. I probably would have done the same, at least for a while, but I was on my motorcycle, stopped at the traffic light. It's hard to say what was going on in those videos, but I'd like to think that not everyone is like that.

And to those walking by with their iPod earplugs protecting them from the random virtuoso on the street, well, you got what you deserved.
post #13 of 84
Andrew, thanks for the link. I highly enjoyed the article.
post #14 of 84
Jesus H. Can we, along with the stooge who wrote this story, get over ourselves, please? I think this post does a good job of summing up just how ridiculous the article is:

What was the point? That not many people enjoy or appreciate classical music? I could have told you that without all the tut-tutting.
post #15 of 84
Thanks for the article. I almost cried when I read it. I'm a violin player myself but keep asking myself the question -- would I have stopped ? I hope I would.
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