Monday, December 15, 2014

A Thought about Composers and Artists

Tell me why, when I listen to the conversation of young artists, painters, or sculptors, I can follow their thoughts and understand their opinions and aims, and I seldom hear them mention technique, save in certain cases of absolute necessity?  On the other hand, when If ind myself among musicians I rarely hear them utter a living idea; one would think they were still at school; they know nothing of anything but technique and 'shop-talk.'  Is the art of music so young that it has to be studied in this puerile way?

-- Modest Mussorgsky

A man, in our times, if only he possesses such a talent and selects some specialty, may, after learning the methods of counterfeiting used in his branch of art, if he has patience and if his aesthetic feeling... be atrophied, unceasingly, till the end of his life, turn out works which will pass for art in our society. To produce such counterfeits, definite rules or recipes exist in each branch of art. So that the talented man, having assimilated them, may produce such works a froid, cold drawn, without any feeling.


"It is impossible for us, with our culture, to return to a primitive state," say the artists of our time. "It is impossible for us now to write such stories as that of Joseph or the Odyssey, to produce such statues as the Venus of Milo, or to compose such music as the folk-songs." 
 And indeed, for the artists of our society and day, it is impossible, but not for the future artist, who will be free from, all the perversion of technical improvements hiding the absence of subject-matter, and who, not being a professional artist and receiving no payment for his activity, will only produce art when he feels impelled to do so by an irresistible inner impulse.

--Leo Tolstoy

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