I used to buy second hand scores of operas and other vocal material, to build my singing repertoire. Occasionally, I would be in a rehearsal with a mature vocal coach and he or she would notice the name of the original owner of my score –usually a singer who had an illustrious career in opera houses, or similar places. I heard many tales about these long forgotten artists.
None of those performers were superstars who could be described as household names, but they obviously made an impact in the profession. I was fascinated for a long time by the dedication of so many folks to the upholding of the tradition. Did they all hope to become legends in their own rights? I was drawn to the mystery of the cultural practice.
This line of enquiry was at odds with some other inclinations of mine. I like to create new things. I like to express emotions and thoughts about moments as they happen. I am also interested in the cultural legacy of my real forbears. For a long time, the focus of my attention was divided between diverging ways of being. Am I destined to dedicate my creative energies towards finding ways and means of achieving transcendence? This is another mystery.
I once attended a question and answer session with Philip Glass. He mentioned in passing that he was going to sell his original manuscripts and papers to a university. He also mused aloud about the fact that younger composers and authors of the present and future would be less likely to have such a source of income, due to the emergence of software for writers and composers, which has eliminated the “handmade” element in such creative work.
Everyone wants to be acknowledged in some shape or form for having been present at some point in time. Is social media the current outlet for the collective wish of our species to live forever?