Alban's Blog

Pretentious People

Yesterday I had some delicious “Grühnkohl mit Mettwurst” (kale with smoked sausage) at the Weihnachtsmarkt next to Deutsche Staatsoper here in my hometown Berlin together with wonderful and beautiful soprano Annette Dasch who had just made her debut at La Scala.

Even though we both grew up in former West-Berlin, same district (Schlachtensee), we never met in Berlin before (once at a festival in Cambrai). We had been in touch about some possible cooperations and now it was just nice to talk and get a feeling where we stand as musicians. I found our shared frustration about a certain group of listeners in this music world very interesting. The kind of audience member who is in it not for the love of music or the pure enjoyment of it, but for the glory, the money, the connections – music as a society event. Obviously this is more pre-eminent in the opera world, but the art of listening and letting yourself get lost in an evening (as audience member) without trying to prove anything to anybody is in my eyes underrated. Often people think they have to say something intelligent about what they heard, feel they have to compare it with the another performance, but to let anything through directly to your soul is rare, and this is what music reception means at least for me.


  • anonymous

    I completely agree. What annoys me most is seeing people who come to concerts to dress up and socialize before the concert and during intermission, but they fall asleep during the music.

  • Alban

    but at the same time these people pay our fees… I try to ignore this part of the “game” and make music for the people who care, and if there is nobody around who cares, I try to satisfy myself, which is real hard… 🙂

  • Dan

    First let me say that i love your blog. I’m a programmer who’s real dream is to be a professional musician. A music school drop out because i just wasn’t really feeling it.

    I get what you are saying. I like to just sit and listen to music. I’m not judging it, i’m not thinking about it, i’m just experiencing it. I have a hard time putting into words just what the experience was for me.

    It annoys me when these music “snobs” start talking about it, making comparisons analyzing it etc.. when talking to me. I have nothing to say in response, and i’m sure they think i’m somehow less then them.

    Anyways. I love reading your blog. Maybe someday I’ll start writing again. Right now i’m just trying to support the family programming. The music is still in my hear and mind. I hear it all the time.

  • Alban

    Hi Dan, sorry for replying so late to your entry. Please let nobody take this love for music away from you, not even let them spoil it, because it is essential. All the talk around it is decoration, sometimes interesting, sometimes hollow and unimportant, but at the end of the day it comes down to the following description of Nikolaus Harnancourt (conductor for so-called “old” music): Music starts there, where language stops. So no word can adequately describe music or the feelings it evoques in us. They can come close (rarely do so), but not to the same level. Start writing music again or playing your instrument, try to squeeze in an hour or so per day, and you’ll be an even better programmer! 🙂


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