Listening while relaying a message

The musician on stage is a hearing conglomerate. He has to listen to himself, perceive what he plays, and react to it. At the same time, he has to anticipate his playing and overlook the complete piece. Simultaneously, he plays for the listeners in the tenth or twenty-third row, and listens, as it were, with their ears. He will also register disturbing noises – open coughing, compulsive clearing of throats, the whistling of a hearing aid, a mobile telephone – and decide whether and how to interfere. Finally, he asks himself whether the audience had lent him their multiple ear.

I hear myself. The public hears me. Do I hear the composer?


Alfred Brendel (*1931), Austrian pianist, in Music, Sense and Nonsense / 2015 / ISBN 978-1-84954-961-5

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