The Famous Spaniard left not only examples of a rather singular art form, but also a number of views by way of the written word, such as:
"Have no fear of Perfection - you'll never reach it."
Of the collection of terse expressions Dali contributed to the Coming Man, the statement above is the most easily understood by the gifted artist, while at the same time constitutes the artist's most inscrutable and beckoning issue.
As I remember, when I first went to the dictionary to read the multi-faceted array of meanings connected to the word Perfection, I became immediately aware as to the reality that so much of what is written about the word cannot be attached to the world of the artist.
If all the notes played in a recital are 100% accurate, is the performance perfect?
Or, if the interpretive material is totally embraced by the player; or by one member of the audience; or twenty; or both player and audience in simultaneity; is it perfect?
How can Perfection be ascertained as a reaction to what was played, or composed, or painted, or danced to?
Why did Artur Rubinstein record the 51 Chopin Mazurkas three different times , starting in the 1930's and ending in the 1960's? (Actually, there are at least 57 Mazurkas, but Rubinstein decided, it seems, to exclude some of the juvenilia of the great composer). He then uttered the understatement of the century by saying "I think that I can play them a little better now."
Was he pursuing, innately or otherwise, that Thing we call Perfection?
How many times did Horowitz record his transcription called "Carmen Variations?"
1927 (a piano roll)
1928 (first disc recording)
Was he pursuing, innately or otherwise, the same goal that Rubinstein, or ANY gifted artist pursues? Was Horowitz pursuing , as a composition, a constantly improving form of his transcription(there were changes in each recording we hear). Or something in his PERFORMANCES of this transcription? Or both aspects?
In a master class at Edinburgh University in 1983, the great Cuban pianist Jorge Bolet addressed the six young pianists he had chosen to work on the first movement of the Rachmaninoff 3rd piano concerto.
He addressed these young aspirants after they had performed in this class.
"You know," Bolet said, "you and I have chosen a crazy profession." The six young pianists then looked at one another and snickered. Bolet then went on to cite the reason for the word 'crazy.' He continued by dealing with a goal issue that would, or could, never be realized - the goal issue, of course, was Perfection.
But Bolet demanded that this Eye on the Prize be relentlessly pursued, as there is no other recourse of action available to any thinking artist.
We in the arts are, essentially, Quixotic in what we do, or strive to do. The character that Cervantes gave us will always be alive and well.
Labels: that eye on the Prize...