Audiences should not just listen with their ears
We don't just see with our eyes, [David Hockney] argues, we use our minds and emotions as well. That is the difference between the image which the camera makes - a split-second record from a fixed viewpoint - and the experience of actually looking, of passing through a landscape, constantly scanning and switching our focus. That is the difference between the passive spectator and the active participant [Hockney] wants us to become. The latter sees not just geometrically, but psychologically as well.That quote* is from a 2012 Times article, and David Hockney's thesis applies to the performing as well as graphic arts. Classical music has scored a potentially fatal own goal by reducing the listening experience to a split-second record from a fixed viewpoint - a low-resolution MP3 file, a cartoon moment, a YouTube clip, an entertainment event. Listening psychologically means leading the audience through a rich musical landscape as they constantly scan and switch their focus. Audiences must be active participants, not passive spectators. They should not just listen with their ears, but with their minds and emotions as well.
* Quote comes via the newly published and highly recommended Sonic Wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound by Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering at Salford University. Additional inspiration came from the Keller Quartet's new CD of Ligeti and Barber - great music, superlative performance and recording, and an exemplary sleeve note from Paul Griffiths that leads the listener through an exceptionally rich musical landscape. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use", and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.