Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Value and success

"Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives." Albert Einstein

What would be, in our days and in music life, the relationship between value and success?

In a world where value is eroding, chances on success are slim. Chasing success then inevitably means: neglecting value, because worldly success requires that one gives the world what it wants, instead of what it needs - that would be value. But there are quite some musicians who square the circle and are successful by dedicating themselves to value. How can that be? In those cases, it becomes clear that it is not the conventional trajectory that has been followed, but an independent one expressing the artist's innate individuality and identity. Inevitably, they arouse both enthusiasm and controversy. But they have been able to convince enough people that they offer something that they need, and that is an instinctive, not a rational or worldy process. But how can that be, in a world where value is eroding? In music life, the existing repertoire trains the listener and the performer in value, because that was the reason this music survived the ever changing, superficial historical circumstances and ephemeral fashions. And this training is entirely instinctive. Thus it forms an emotional and aesthetic learning trajectory, relatively independent from worldly concerns.

Obviously, I am talking about performers here, not composers.

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