Tuesday, August 20, 2013
"Being" a Composer
Sometimes I wonder what "being" a composer actually is. When you're not currently writing something, are you still a composer? And when you are working on something that you realize doesn't have any particular value, are you then a lousy composer? How about if you write something that nobody else seems to like? If you stop writing music, are you still a composer?
Oh how I envy Haydn! He never had to ask these kinds of questions. He reported to his Prince and got his musical orders for the day, and after he was dismissed with a generous pension, people in Vienna and London wanted more new music from him. He did have tremendous musical responsibilities, but he also had the ability to meet them with music that was inventive, brilliant, always interesting, always modern, always a pleasure to play, and always meaningful. The pleasure I get from his Piano Sonatas offsets nearly any sadness or feeling of isolation that comes into my life. I can't think of a single piece of Haydn that doesn't give me great pleasure.
I suppose that Haydn never had to wonder "what" he was in his world. He was simply a musician.