There are all kinds of ways to create, perform and react to art.
Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” (1875) from Peer Gynt is just a few measures of notes played over and over again. How could it possibly be interesting?
Close your eyes. Listen to the music through a couple of times without watching the video of the orchestra. When you’re satisfied that the music has said something to you, take a few minutes to write down your thoughts. What has caught your attention? What feelings did the music evoke in you? Did it remind you of anything in your life? Did it create new stories in your head? Where do you go when you listen to this same phrase of music played repeatedly? To sleep? To someplace new? To someplace familiar? To someplace exciting or fantastical? Real or imaginary? When you’re satisfied that the music has said something to you, take a few minutes to write down your thoughts.
Now, go back to the video. This time watch the musicians. Focus on a few of them–whichever ones the movement of the video allows. Think about how they feel. Think about where the music takes them and what the experience of making this music on their different instruments seems to mean to them. Think about how they make you feel. Does watching the musicians enhance your experience of listening to Grieg or detract from it? or Make some notes about the observations you’ve made about the musicians.
Now make some choices about what you’d like to do with all these notes. Write about the movement of the music itself and how it affected you. OR Write about the performance of the music and how it affected you. OR Combine these ideas to somehow bring together the effect the entire experience had on you. All these people–composer, conductor, musicians, filmmakers, audience–coming together to create a three minute and seventeen second experience for us. Worth it? OR Take your piece in your own direction.
OR Watch this and do with it what you will…