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SaxophonesMy neighbour tapped on my window at four this afternoon. She had crossed the road to tell me there was a free concert at the local museum this afternoon. They are running an exhibition of art by the Nabis artists, Maurice Denis. To coincide with the theme, the local école de musique had put together a concert of music by Debussey, Ravel, Saint-saens and Fauré. The finale was a nonet of saxophones, playing a suite by Ravel. It was delightful and a lovely way to spend a grey afternoon. It was a full house, and the audience were appreciative, if not enthusiastic. Impressionist music takes a certain ear, perhaps.

One thing that struck me was the difference between the teachers and the pupils. Not the quality of the playing; all the performers did very well. No, it was what happened after each piece finished. The teachers, without exception acknowledged the audience and each other. The pupils did not; instead they glanced furtively up from their music stands and slunk off before the applause had died down. What a shame that the teachers had not instilled that essential aspect of performance art: to acknowledge and accept the applause.

I recently downloaded a book written by one of the authors in the online group I belong to. It struck me that he had done the same thing with his writing, which I found both self-indulgent and dense, to the point of being indecipherable in places. ‘Write for yourself’ is always good advice, however, I think it also pays to acknowledge that someday, hopefully, someone else will be reading and to at least give a nod in the direction of the reader. Art is a form of communication: I don’t think it works if it’s one way.

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