Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Over the Moon

Alternately titled: "Just because you can doesn't mean you should."

Alternately titled: "Andrea doesn't love things Andrea doesn't get."

You know the song from Rent, "Over the Moon"?  How it is so purposefully out there to help develop a character?  Well, what if you were actually there in that moment, when a serious artist presents a similarly out-there work, and it is all you can do to keep from laughing.

You're alone at the concert, which helps.  Imagine trying to keep a straight face sitting next to a sister, or worse, a best friend.  You're doing your best, which really is barely hanging on, when you hear a snicker from two rows back where the immensely talented cello-playing teenage band is sitting.  Maybe it was just in your head, you think... maybe he just has a case of the sniffles. 

You focus on the stage again, where three seemingly respectable adult musicians are intentionally attempting to play a pitched piece on three instruments they've admitted are not up to the task.  The composer has even titled the piece, written for slide whistle, theramen, and flexatone, "Well, This Is Hopeless."  You pull out your cell phone to record, because who's going to believe this without documentation.

You could probably contain your giggles better were it nor for the previous numbers which included a trio for iphone (you don't recall anyone ever wanting more ipod cowbell...), a hauntingly beautiful piece inspired by the brown wizard Radagast (but unfortunately accompanied by a visual display you feared was reprogramming your brain via subliminal messaging), and a prerecorded piece that reminded you of the sounds of a variety of plumbed apparatus.

Even the set you were hired to play was a strange set to perform.  A collection of traditional tongue twisters set to original melodies across a variety of styles (and time signatures!), the set makes sense in the context for which it was composed: to give vocalists a repertoire by which to refine their elocution.  But to hear an incredibly talented vocalist present them as songs worthy of an audience ends up being just... weird.

This is not to say there is no talent at the concert.  In fact, you fear what you're witnessing is musicians so talented, they have become artists.  Everything these artists set out to do they are doing exceptionally well.  You just can't quite figure out why they're doing it at all.

Perhaps the strongest evidence is the final performer who presents some pretty incredible harmonies as she sings live along with a recording of herself(ves).  Her voice is beautiful!  And the stuff she's singing is incredibly challenging.  But just because one can doesn't mean one should.

She finishes, and they announce a suprise: the talented teen cellists will be playing a finale encore, and you get out your phone again.  Again, because no one will believe it without documentation.

They can.  And they should. 

And realizing your phone video did terrible justice, you stalk their website and find this mp3 recording of your favorite number of the evening.  You thank them afterward for being the only thing you could really relate to as music.

You realize there may be a difference between music and art.  And you are a musician.

All you have to do is jump over the moon...

Curious what you'd do?  Attend a Salty Cricket Composers Collective MÉLANGE concert, and you can find out!