Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Sound of Trying

In Sunbeams: Sages, Saints and Lovers Celebrate the Human Heart, edited by Sy Safranksky, Thomas Powers writes an anecdote about Stravinsky, and a new piece the composer had written with a particularly difficult violin passage:

"After it had been in rehearsal for several weeks, the solo violinist came to Stravinsky and said he was sorry, he had tried his best, the passage was too difficult, no violinist could play it. Stravinsky said, 'I understand that. What I am after is the sound of someone trying to play it.'"

I haven't read the book; just from the title alone, it sounds like something that would probably piss me off, but I'd like to think that that anecdote about Stravinsky is true. And now I'm going to be mildly irritated until I figure out which piece it is so I can listen to that passage.

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