Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Joys of Solitude

I like to think of art as serving two main functions, to transport and to report.

The responsibility of the artist to represent an honest picture of her time can result in unsettling art that confronts its audience with insights into the difficult truths of life. This art reports; and so often, it reports bad news.

Other art, however, offers solace in times of trial. In a day when reportage submerges the mere mortal in a flood—a deluge—of information, poll numbers, and market indices, art that transports offers a deeply reparative function in our lives. Of late, when I come home much too late from a long day, and pour a glass of red wine, I want music that transports, not reports. I've had enough reports for one day.

The internationally acclaimed Dutch violinist, Jaap Schröder, has released a CD of music that perfectly accompanies a quiet evening. "Jaap Schröder The Seventheenth-Century Violin" presents sixty-five minutes of music for unaccompanied violin music by well-known and obscure composers, perfect for contemplation, introspection, and solitude. Listening to Jaap's CD, I am reminded of the marvelous Duccio “Madonna and Child” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The front edge of its frame is charred in two places by candles, because this work of great artistic sophistication—virtuosity, even—was used for personal devotion; two candles illuminating its mysteries in the pre-electric night.

In the current November evenings, dark so very early, solitude is welcome. Jaap's music is a balm to the rampant reports and retorts we must fend off each day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like that, transport or report! -Louise Dubin