Saturday, January 26, 2008

Performing Arts

There's something ironic about performing arts. I'm listening to a classical music channel on Dish Network. When I hear something new or unusual I can glance at the text on the screen listing the title of the piece, the artist, the title and label of the CD. But it seems odd to me that the "artist" listed is the performer, not the composer.

Music, like dance and theater, only exists in the moment - and memory. The composer creates a work of art and succeeding generations of performers make it available to listeners. In my experience with music, we seem celebrate the composer more than the performer. I'm more likely to say, "I want to hear Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony," than to say "I want to hear the London Philharmonic." Of course, there's a point of sophistication at which I may say, "I want to hear the London Philharmonic recording of Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony."

It's even more ironic in dance. I know the names of a few dancers and choreographers. But I'm quite likely to know the composer of the music. (Why isn't there a form of dance without music?) In theater, I'm likely to know the name of the writer and a couple of the actors, but not the director. Hmm...

I'm intrigued by the idea of painting or sculpting as a performing art. What if you could watch an artist creating an original work - or reproducing a master piece? That may sound deadly dull to most people, but I think it would be interesting.

1 comment:

NYCO said...

Mary Ann, I don't know if people wouldn't watch. After all, Bob "The Happy Painter" Ross enthralled millions of Americans with his hypnotic painting process on public TV for years.