Thursday, April 10, 2008

Candid Camera--With a Twist

Great story in the WaPo here, about one of those "street musicians" you won't find often--at least, not 'on the street.'

HE EMERGED FROM THE METRO AT THE L'ENFANT PLAZA STATION AND POSITIONED HIMSELF AGAINST A WALL BESIDE A TRASH BASKET. By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play

You've seen them. Usually pretty good--although it's likely that Folkbum is just as good, or maybe better.

Well, except for THIS time...

On that Friday in January, those private questions would be answered in an unusually public way. No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?

He started with JSB's "Chaconne" from the Partita #2 in D minor.

Using his Strad.

In the end, it turns out that he could actually make a living...and wouldn't have to pay an agent. But it wouldn't exactly be a Park Avenue living...

That 'street musician' got his violin lessons because his parents noticed that he had strung rubber-bands around his dresser drawers and was picking out tunes by moving the drawers in and out while plucking the bands. Holy wah!

HT: WardWideWeb

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