Tuesday, February 26, 2008

creative practice: change

Not long ago, I heard someone comment after listening to a live performance, “That was almost perfect, almost like listening to a CD.” Granted, people look for different things from their music. I was taken aback, though. It seemed to me more than a bit of getting the cart before the horse. Recordings are great ways to share and preserve music, but each recording is as much a snapshot of where the artist was at the time it was made as is, in a different sense, a live gig a snapshot of what the artist wishes to communicate at that moment. You never sing a song or play a tune the same way twice, nor should you want to. Audience, circumstance, time, weather, place -- they all change. And the music and the communication of it changes with them. I'm not suggesting note for note renditions are wrong or impossible, not at all, just that they too require acceptance of change, a circumstance which does not diminish any piece of music.

I was reminded of the comment above about live music while reading a book about cooking, actually, Robert Irvine’s Mission: Cook! If you only know Irvine from his slightly over the top Food Network persona, or if you've never heard of him, this is a good read from a man who has followed his passion and thought about that quite a lot. Plenty of recipes too if that’s your interest. He makes the point that you never cook the same meal twice, either.

further development: Irvine has just admitted (on 4 March in this NYT story) that he made up some of the items in his cv.

music to go along with these ideas: Carrie Newcomer's The Geography of Light.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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