Sunday, April 08, 2007

Pearls Before Breakfast

Did anyone else read this poignant article By Gene Weingarten in the Washington Post Magazine on Saturday about Joshua Bell, one of the world's greatest violinists standing in L'Enfant Plaza playing eloquent music, "Chaconne," then Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria," on his multimillion dollar Stradivarius? It choked me up to read about the indifference to beauty when it is squarely within range. I saw "the wordless, darkly brilliant, avant-garde 1982 film "Koyaanisqatsi," about the frenetic speed of modern life" many years ago. "Koyaanisqatsi" is a Hopi word. It means "life out of balance." The Washington Post set up a modern day version, an experiment with the question "Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let's find Out."

"What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare."
-- from "Leisure," by W.H. Davies

"If we can't take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that -- then what else are we missing?"

Find out by reading the article here. And don't miss seeing the video clip of Joshua Bell's performance at the end of the article. I'll say, perhaps context does matter in art.

Emily Shroder, Rachel Manteuffel, John W. Poole and Magazine Editor Tom Shroder contributed to this report. Gene Weingarten, a Magazine staff writer, can be reached at He will be fielding questions and comments about this article Monday at 1 p.m.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:30 PM

    There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog:
    She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters... I thought you might find it interesting.