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Våga göra konst - tankar om vad jag gör och varför (In Swedish)

Våga göra konst

Vi behöver utvecklas som människor. Konst kan hjälpa oss i det här. Konsten kommer från en annan dimension än vårt reella tänkande och logiska planerande. Konst uppstår enligt mig genom en seriös lekfullhet, inom vårt valda medium, vilket kunde vara så gott som vad som helst. Mitt medium är klassisk musik, violinspel.

Konst som berör andra, är vad jag personligen är speciellt intresserad av. Då man leker eller hän ger sig i stunden inom ett medium som man behärskar så till en grad väl, kan man lyckas kasta av sig ego masken och då vidröra något universellt mänskligt.

En yrkeskonstnär känner sitt kall. Konstnären fyller en funktion i samhället i och med att dennes konst kan och bör sträva efter att hjälpa andra att uppleva en annorlunda dimension. Vi har alla våra unika områden och begåvningar som vi har utvecklat mer än andra. Genom att ta för oss av andras konst i olika former kan vi inspireras till personlig tillväxt.

Emil i Lönnebergas svar till att hitta på ett litet hyss år Ida passar även in på hur man gör lyckad konst, sådan som berör andra,: ”hyss e inte något man hittar på, di bara blir”. För att göra lyckad konst så måste man givetvis också våga göra dålig konst.

Konst är i sig ett förvillande begrepp. För mig är konst alla media och sätt där vi vidgar begreppen om vad det är att vara människa. Någon har sagt att leva livet är en konst. Jag håller med om att det är en konst att leva medvetet, njuta och ansvara för att lämna världen som en bättre plats än då vi kom. Vi är alla den stora konstnären i våra egna liv.

Frida Backman
Ekenäs 6.8.2017 (först publicerat på facebook sidan @Backman Concerts)

Thoughts on Bach Meditations, a response to the Brexit vote in UK 2016

Why Play Solo Bach as Meditations?

Is there a need for Bach?

There is a lot of entertainment available around us. Sometimes it feels that the whole world around me is demanding to be entertained (I have a six year old, by the way…). A great part of the classical music industry also buys in to this thinking, for really, the entertainment industry is where the money lies. Even artists need to eat. Performers are fighting to be attractive enough to audiences, interesting, quirky, standing out in whatever way. This gets more and more difficult, as there are more and more fantastic instrumentalists, singers, artists all seeming to compete for the same audiences.

This excessive competition makes me feel sad. I believe in the power of music, and in the personal connection between people. I believe there is room for a lot of art in our lives. We artist should join together, support and help each other to stay true to our art (and our hearts). We also need to find new ways to connect with our audience, and to reach out and expand the numbers of people who use classical music to enhance their lives.

Entertainment vs. Art?

Going to a concert or listening to a CD at home can itself be entertaining. It lifts us out of our normal reality. Music has many powers, and people use music in different ways, none of them wrong or in themselves better that the other. As I teenager e.g. I needed to play heavy metal on my stereo to get into tidy up mode, (I probably should dig out my heavy metal more often, judging by the state of my home), I have used John Barry film scores to banish or revel in feelings of loneliness, or folk rock CDs to feel a connection with my home land, to name a few.

I have spent years in the entertainment industry, both as a member of various string quartets at weddings and functions, on cruise liners and as a student I played as a hotel i.e. restaurant violinist at the Ritz and Claridge’s in Mayfair, London playing “enjoyable tunes” in the background. It can be fun and satisfying to “entertain” as a musician. Yet a deeper part of me longs to engage with music and my audiences more deeply. I know of no more profound music than the music by J. S. Bach.

So, what constitutes art and what is entertainment? I think of entertainment as something that soothes us, makes us forget about our real lives for a moment, art, on the other hand can be uncomfortable, it can give us clarity or a wider perspective to a personal dilemma, but in essence, it moves us and it can soothe us. Art bids us to wonder.

Something that was created as entertainment can be experienced as art for someone, and some art can be entertainment to another. Perhaps there needs to be no division, it is about the reaction it creates in each of us. My point is that the music of J.S.Bach written by a “devout Lutheran German musical genius three hundred years ago“ hardly could be described as entertainment.

I believe there is something that can have the combined effects of art and entertainment namely meditation.

Gigs vs. Concerts

My late mentor Brian Stait always found it puzzling that I referred to some work engagements as “gigs” and some as “concerts”. To me there was a clear definition; a gig was where I turned up for the money, played what I was told and went home. Whether I had an ecstatic experience on stage was irrelevant. A concert on the other hand is something well-rehearsed, where the expectation is that I will go deep into the music, hoping for the very special experience of bathing in the flow of music. Of course, I have had good concerts and bad concerts, which by my definition depends on whether the flow appeared or not. (My personal experience of flow, or lack thereof, curiously does not always correspond to the audiences’ level of appreciation.)

Master Pieces

For many years my work with my pianotrio (2009-2015) provided a good base for exploring work by the great masters of western music history. In Finland many express wonder about the conservative taste of British audiences (not talking politics here), that audiences prefer the safe musical language of Beethoven, Brahms and Schubert before modern, or more unknown composers. I believe it is more than a superficial reluctance to get to know something new. These master pieces contain something that speaks to our souls, give a sense of some “universal Truth”. It is in my opinion exactly this quality to move us on a deep level that is the reason that these works universally are hailed as masterpieces and therefore endure hundred-of-thousands of repetitions, every year around the world, especially in English speaking countries. (For British readers it may be interesting to know that a programme of Brahms, Beethoven and Schubert probably would be considered boring in Finland, that audiences are naturally curious and quite eager to hear something new.)

Brexit 2016

On a more political note, however, it was the Brexit vote itself that for me triggered the decision to programme Bach’s “Sei Soli” i.e. his Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin into my concert calendar this year. Initially I was saving this cycle for the year to 2020, 300 years after these works were published.

Brexit has divided families in their political views, it has been a rollercoaster of a ride on social media with lots of criticism being aired. In a moment like the current we need to find and feed our inner strength with good art so that we can proceed peacefully together to build our communities, families, various individual roles and tasks in life.

“Keep Calm and let the Music Carry You On”.

Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin are not necessarily “easy” to listen to – it  depends on our own personal situation. My dad e.g. strongly dislikes Bach; he finds it heavy. On the other hand my mother adores Bach, with its capacity to endure, go on and transform. It is also tremendously beautiful, it contains the full spectrum of human emotions and much wisdom for life. Many would agree that Bach’s music has a tangible soul nourishing quality.

My Bach by Candlelight Mystical Music Meditation cycle of Bach's works for solo violin offer opportunities for deep listening and being for approximately one hour. Feel free to bring a candle and a cushion. I would be grateful to receive anything you want to share  about your experience e.g. by emailing me on info(a) Alternatively you may leave your comment in the guest book.

Another time I will write more about the music of Bach and what it has taught me so far.

With Best Wishes,


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