Anywho... naturally, I had eavesdropped on a conversation at the museum, while looking at one of the largest, and most famous of de Kooning's works, Excavation. Two guys got on the topic of classical training, and how, isn't it interesting that de Kooning had all this formal training, and then he paints stuff "like this," ... and Wynton Marsalis went to Juilliard, blah blah, and ended up leaving to play jazz with Charlie Parker. (Now, I don't know if that's true, but that's what the guy said. I'm sure one of you jazz dudes can chime in here, and clarify. I'll continue with what they said next.) So then one of them says to the other that, "Well, don't you think that there's such a thing as having too much technique? I mean, you don't want to have none, but at some point there's too much, and you want to be more in the middle. At some point there's so much technique that the music sounds hollow."
Excuse me, sir, but just because I have amazing technique does not mean that I am soulless. That would be an absurd assumption. Did you take logic class in college? Because I did. It fulfilled my math requirement. I can still draw an immaculate Venn diagram, and my Venn diagram is stronger than yours.
I do not know how this post turned into a rant, but there it is up there. A rant. Shall I continue?
There are people who are musical, but have none or very little technique. Sometimes it works just fine, but it will only take you so far. This is a point that I have had to explain to students on several occasions. Then, there are people who have awesome technique, but lack a sort of artistic flair. One might even say that they "sound hollow." Well, okay. That's a real bummer. Because in my opinion, it's easier to be musical, and learn the technique. Not so easy to go the other way around. Anyway, there's a third type of musician: has awesome technique AND amazing artistry. They DO exist, and there are plenty of them. I mean, the guy negated his own stupid comment by prefacing it with Wynton Marsalis. Not to mention Sviatoslav Richter, or Martha Argerich, or so many of my other musical heroes. And just because they can play a ridiculously fast octaves scale does not mean that they would be more of an artist than if they could not play that fast octaves scale. That is just silly.
This guy might as well have said, "Oh, yes, yes. You should practice. But don't practice too much, or else you'll get too good. And then you won't make good art."
Okay, rant over. I could go on even more, by clarifying on the opposite end of that spectrum, but I won't. So, after I got past my underlying, seething rage over this guy's imbecilic comment, (I missed some of the intermediary remarks,) I listened to what the other guy said, and THIS I found very interesting, and, when I take it out of context so I can forget about Tweedledee, I actually like what he says, which was,
"I like to see what's at stake."
That comment was actually the ENTIRE point of why I was writing this story. I don't know how the rant took over. But I love that statement. Now I just have to figure out how to translate it.
Okay, so about the improv: this is a little rip-off of my favorite Rachmaninoff prelude. And there's a brief Brahms quotation in there, too. I find it too meandering, but that has been sort of a theme, hasn't it.
Here we go, Day 47: https://ia600704.us.archive.org/15/items/Improv93011/9_30_117_55Pm.mp3
I could've put a picture of one of the fantastic de Koonings that I saw today, but I thought you might all rather see me drive my point home. I made it extra big so you can see the stick figure scratching his head. And that word on the last line is "circles." Circles.