This was an article that was sent to me not too long ago that made me re-think my approach to working with sampled music somewhat. I\'ve seen this sentiment mentioned here before, and it is so true: It\'s not what you do with the samples you\'ll have one day, but what you make of those you have now. With the rush of new and fantastic libraries out there, both recently arrived and looming, this was a splash of cold water that found me writing <with what I have> more inspired than I have in a while.
\"On Nov. 18,1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.
By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play. But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap - it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do.
People who were there that night thought to themselves: \"We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage - to either find another violin or else find another string for this one.\"
But he didn\'t. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before.
Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing, re-composing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.
When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.
He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said - not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone - \"You know, sometimes it is the artist\'s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.\"
What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it. And who knows? Perhaps that is the definition of life - not just for artists but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who, all of a sudden, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with just three
strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that he had ever made before, when he had four strings.
So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have, and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left.
Jack Riemer, Houston Chronicle, February 10, 2001\"
Nah. This isn\'t perspective. It\'s a spine-tingling story of a unique moment from a unique artist. All other violinists will carry on replacing their broken strings if they can. For most players that would still provide the best chance of a good performance.
The myth has also crossed over into the piano world. The story typically is narrated by someone who goes to a concert given by some legendary pianist, and finds their playing fairly ordinary, but then later finds out that they were labouring with a broken finger. Unfortunately, you\'ll only ever hear it from someone who knows someone, who heard it from someone, who heard a rumour....
But, myth or not, the sentiment is right. There is no point in blaming poor tools for our inabilities.
Cute story. But I think its more an expression for our everlasting desire to observe the socalled genius. Perlman is amazing. So is Pat Metheny on the guitar. So is BT in tweaking knobs. Hehehe. Well, maybe I overdid a bit on BT - but hell - he is just as known as Perlman. Bottomline. We WANT to believe and to be honest I sometimes feel that Perlmans playing sound like George Zamphir on Panflutes. Candyfloss on strings.
However the conclusion is correct. Our everlasting strife for new libraries (VSL, QLSO, blabla) will make us sound better - but not better composers. On the other hand we will SOUND like better composers - and to the majority of people that is what its about.
So maybe the conclusion is wrong. Maybe we need technology to disguise ourselves. I think I will stick to that.