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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sounding like an expat....

so I seem to be, talking about people's English language skills. Actually, I can get by in Russian if I have to, though living in Lithuania and working in Georgia and Ukraine, amongst other places, it's not among my most favourite languages.

I am conscious, though, that people from all over the world read this blog, some of whom might wish to visit/live in the places I have been to (or not!), and it's useful for them to know where to go and how they will be able to cope there.

And talking of judgments, one thing that happens to you when you live/work for a long time in places with different cultures, is that your sense of taste shifts. I am not talking about food, I am talking about beautiful things. Often you think of bringing gifts home to friends and relatives to let them see where and how you lived - but equally often you see nothing but ghastliness, shoddy workmanship, appalling colours and outrageous prices (I will not mention the countries concerned, but paintings are amongst some of the most appalling things that see the light of day). After a few weeks in such a place you begin to think 'oh, that's not too bad', and you bring one or two home, to horrified friends/relations/colleagues.

This is what I also feel when I write music reviews sometimes; I think, it went quite well really, they played all the notes in the right places. And then I come home and see on Western European TV orchestras that play with energy, enthusiasm and engagement - and I realise just how low the level can be sometimes. Yes, we pay to go to concerts in Eastern Europe, but sometimes only because there is nothing else - how can we make the musicians realise that we do not owe them a living? And yes, it is a hard life being a musician, from the age of 5 or 6 onwards - but you chose it, no?

3 comments:

varske said...

Ah come on. Who in Eastern Europe gets paid a decent salary for being a musician unless they tour in the West? Its still a case of we pretend to work and you pretend to pay us, except now the cause and effect is the other way round.

The managers can't put up the prices to pay decent wages, otherwise the masses couldn't afford to go. It's still culture for the masses. At least it's not dumbed down like in the west.

violainvilnius said...

but playing like some of them do they won't get lucrative summer tours either...

violainvilnius said...

To be fair, I suppose, we do get here what we pay for - but it seems a shame that people who went through their musical education all bright eyed and bushy tailed, with lots of enthusiasm, now just scrub away. Or, I wonder, if they are taught (or it's in the culture) not to show enthusiasm when they play in an orchestra? Concerts should be fun!