In the imagery of Classical antiquity, the Muses dance together.  All the arts share a common foundation, and thus an artist in any discipline can learn a lot from the other arts.  Painters can learn much from musicians.  In this quote by Yehudi Menuhin, the distinction between effort that is exclusively technical and a highly structured artistic freedom is well delineated:

“If I felt I couldn’t accept Ysaye’s advice, nor his offer to teach me, the fault lay in my stars perhaps, or at any rate in the temperament I was born with.  He might have added method to my working day (among much else besides, no doubt) and thereby shortened the long search for understanding I ultimately had to make, but learning an imposed method seemed not in my nature.  In dealing with people I was, as I am, very trusting; in dealing with ideas, opinions, traditions, techniques, I never took anything ready-made, but reserved judgment until I had personally tested the matter.  Music was something very alive to me, an essential means of expression, and I suspect that unending hours of work on dull material might well have blunted rather than polished my interpretation of it.  Nor am I alone in this, I think.  I have since seen how very rigid teaching of music, such as has been systematized in Russia can steam roller individual expressiveness into anonymous brillance, so that only the most irrepressible survive the course with personality and musicality intact.  Of course I don’t wish to imply Ysaye would have ridden roughshod over my finer feelings; only that what he might have given, I was not able to take.  If it was unorthodox, my development as a violinist was nevertheless valid.  Mine was an inspired way, shown me by inspired teachers, not mastery of scales and arpeggios; it was recognition of greatness and response to it.”

                                  –Yehudi Menuhin Unfinished Journey   p. 66- 67 Alfred Knopf publisher, 1976

[Top of the post: Andrea Mantegna, detail, Mars and Venus or Parnassus, 1497, Paris, Musee du Louvre]

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