Tuesday, October 2, 2012
This past weekend I went down to the city to see the NY Phil perform Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. It's an incredibly evocative piece based on The Arabian Nights, and I know it so well that I can sing along to all 45 minutes of it. By the end of the performance I was moved to tears, mostly due to Glenn Dicterow's emotional violin solo. His love for the piece, for the music and instrument, was tangible. It's hard to explain, but it was intense. It was one of the most powerful experiences I've had.
Weirdly, the performance sort of reminded me why I do illustration. It reminded me that the arts connect us in a way that nothing else can. In my mind, music, art, dance, acting, film, literature-- they are the most important and valuable things that we create and experience. To think that a story passed down through generations inspired Rimsky-Korsakov to write a piece of music in 1887 that would be played in 2012 by a group of musicians, each with a unique interpretation of the music, to be heard by a unique audience and interpreted once again. No two performances are ever the same, and neither are any two audience experiences.
The ability art has to make us feel something, to make us laugh or move us to tears, across language, culture, class, religion, and all the other things that divide us... it's unlike anything else. Art teaches us empathy and compassion and it makes us think. And then to know that the arts seem to be one of the least valued things in our modern society, constantly being cut out of schools and communities (the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra was recently forced to dissolve, and many responses from people in the community were incredibly disheartening). Art is the most important thing we can share with each other... and sometimes, when it's particularly amazing (as it was this weekend), it can remind us that magic still exists in the world, and that we create it.
You can listen to the NY Phil play it here-- Alan Gilbert Conducts Scheherazade