|said performer at said debut|
|case in point: Luka Sulic|
Social critic Walter Benjamin goes so far as to declare that cultivating these supplemental traits of a performer may cost a performance’s effectiveness. In his article “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Benjamin discusses the diminishing of the “aura” given off by a unique piece of art: “The film responds to the shriveling of the aura with an artificial build-up of the ‘personality’ outside the studio. The cult of the movie star, fostered by the money of the film industry, preserves not the unique aura of the person but the ‘spell of the personality,’ the phony spell of a commodity." Extending this phenomenon to include live performance of classical music, perhaps too much fussing over vain details of appearance and personality does indeed “shrivel” the authenticity that such performances ought to give off. Because “the reflected image has become separable, transportable… [b]efore the public," screen actors are extra-conscious, and this self-consciousness may pervade their performance; similarly, when the performer is conscious of his or her audience’s allotment of attentions, he or she will also allot appropriate amounts of attention to different aspects of the performance.
|Who sees you? Johannes does|
If, then, most classical musicians today fall short of true artistry, what may they do to inch toward more meaningful careers? Modern-day instantly-gratifying arts showcases do not support Gould’s standard, and may be best characterized as commercialized. The typical trajectory of an artist -- such as David Helfgott’s in the film Shine -- yields more destabilization and discord than it does beauty and harmony. The current system may be modified to best allow for “the internal combustion [art] ignites in the hearts of men” in several ways: end the exclusivity of great art, support education that maximizes appreciation, and alternate under the spotlight big-name divas with relative unknowns. Or else watch the traditional arts be doomed by their mummery, by formality and affectivity. Modern musicians ought to re-cast the materialistic mold set before them, which breaks the spirit more often than not; and bravely pursue their art, even if they never reach celebrity and are confined to little studios as teachers; for their contributions are truly meaningful when measured.