Thursday, December 21, 2017

As For the Power of Musical Ubiquity...

Recently I saw a video of elephants swaying as they listened to some classical music being performed  on the other side of the fence separating the two species. Especially fascinating to me was their stopping the swaying when the music ceased.
Which brings to mind that historic event of  the singing of a German aria (was it Mahler, or Strauss?) by the fabled piano virtuoso Glenn Gould, standing there, brandishing the score, not twenty feet from assorted animals, with the general reaction being the reality that many of the animals demonstrated rather demonstrable discomfort  in their role as an audience - Gould muttered something about the lack of taste for one of the lively arts, as he walked away, in a ( mocking, to be sure) morose state.
Some of you may have read a blog I wrote about ten years ago about my being witness to about thirty or forty  ducks grouped around a portable radio situated  next to an elderly man sitting at the edge of the pond I frequented in my daily walks, as they appeared to be listening  to some popular music - there they were, all either sitting or standing in place without moving. I shall never forget that scene as I walked by . How could  such a thing occur??
Finally; what came back to me was an event that repeated itself during my first years  as a teacher of piano:
I would visit the house weekly, giving lessons to two young ladies in their teens. The dog of the house, a Collie named Johnny was, at first, not present during the lessons. However, after several weeks, a remarkable ritual took place, during which each time I sat next to the piano to begin my sessions with the first of the two girls, Johnny would appear, sit quietly at my feet through BOTH lessons, then just as quietly and gently get up and accompany me to the door as  I would bid my adieu for the week. There was no question in my mind that somehow Johnny became one of my first  favorable reactors to what I was about.
Go figure - talk about the ubiquity of music;  let alone  its incalculable  message... 

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