Posted at 2:40 PM on April 10, 2007
by Don Lee
The Washington Post ran a story Sunday that has to be among the week's most e-mailed for folks in the classical music biz. A writer for the paper persuaded violinist Joshua Bell to pose as a busker near a Washington Metro stop.
The result? Despite Bell's (relative) celebrity and despite the beauty of his playing, almost no one noticed.
The interpretation? Music--even great music superbly played--has too few charms to soothe the preoccupied commuter's breast. There was also the hint of a subtext: Almost no one cares about classical music.
Is this cause for despair? I don't think so. The context here is everything. Even the Post's reporter pauses to acknowledge that. But then he plows on.
So, while it's a little harsh, I'll recommend this piece from yesterday's Salon as useful counterpoint.