Reminder: Philosophy major and pianist Dan Tate, along with his friend John Price, will be giving a free concert in the USU performance hall on Saturday, December 6 at 7pm.
Dan sent this along to me, and I thought it worth posting. He raises several interesting philosophical issues, and for those in the Republic course, Plato (particularly in Book X) has addressed a number of these aesthetic issues.
A friend and fellow musician recently showed me this vulgar debasement of one of Chopin’s masterpieces. Chopin wrote this piece (popularly called the revolutionary etude) to express his deep anguish over the extreme violence that had erupted in his native Poland due to conflicts with Russia. This video trivializes (to say the least) Chopin’s profound grief and turns it into mere spectacle. The saddest thing is that most people wouldn’t even see anything wrong with this (hence why the performer is famous). One might say I’m being too dramatic, but I think this is a dangerous symptom of a much deeper epidemic. This video illustrates several of the dilemmas society faces today:
1) The lack of differentiation between the Sacred and the profane (i.e. everything becomes profane)
2) The fact that even the most transcendent art has been reduced to image, spectacle, and the almighty dollar
3) The gross and narcissistic emphasis on ‘originality’ and the individual (check out the stupid faces the performer makes trying to look profound)
4) The fact that most art (like Plato observed) appeals to the basest part of the soul and even great art when misconstrued follows suit.
Here is the first video, the performance I am berating.
Here is a second video, it is one of today’s great artists playing the same piece as it ought to be played.