Friday, February 23, 2007

Live music 4ever!

I realised Hattogate was getting out of hand when I found I had a blister on my wrist from contact with mouse-mat edge. The conspiracy theories and Chinese whispers seem to be getting crazier and crazier and I have received a comment or two here that I've not posted because they're way off the deep end - more like something out of sci fi, somewhere between George Orwell and Dr Who, than this rather heart-rending, sorry tale.

What put it all in perspective was this: last night some musician friends came round and played us a violin concerto in the front room. Moments like this, you feel so fortunate that you wonder what you've done to deserve it. I mean, honestly: a friend you'd normally have a good laugh with over a cuppa picks up a piece of wood with four strings and a bow, and suddenly it's as if the Alps have taken over your lounge. It was absolutely incredible: breathtaking, uplifting, the works.

My problem with the Hatto business is that it's all about recording. Not live performance. Music is about communication, isn't it? It's a direct path from soul to soul - composer-musician-audience - and essentially this can only take place during real-time, one-off performance. I have a fine library of CDs that I enjoy hearing, but none that can move or stir me to that extent - with the possible exception of musicians like Cortot, Thibaud and Enescu who recorded live, wrong notes and all, a very long time ago. Of course recordings crucially fill the gap for anyone who doesn't have access to a concert hall or a piano, but given a choice, I would pick live performance every time.

Live music, especially at such close quarters, is one of the seven wonders of the world. I'm now trying to think what the other six could be.