Music in the Time of Coronavirus
If, at first, a lockdown seemed ideal for quiet time and creativity, it quickly turned out to be a challenge as where to perform, and, mostly: who were we performing for? We create art for Art's sake, but Art is also meant to be shared. And then, there was social media. Those intellectualizing, and those expressing their grief of a world that can no longer be, and those thinking about the world that needs to be. From all this magma constantly emerges the beautiful, the ugly, the unknown, the hashed over and over conspiration theories, the revolutionary, the visionary, the dull, the trite... How do we react to an order of the world that is collapsing? Artists are the first who will tell you: we seize the opportunity to make it better. On social media, we have read a lot about finding out who were the essential workers: grocery employees, healthcare workers, truckers, and who were those who did not deserve their glory and money. If at the heart of it, some truth stands, the reality is not all that simple for artists. Where do we stand? We did not all of a sudden go on holiday. It has been a long journey for artists already. From loss of contracts and worrying about making ends meet, to homemade online productions, going through political action to ensure a larger access to financial help... our days have been filled and busy! During these times of isolation, artists have been working the technology. All that art that has been made free online is their work, freely handed over to the world. As freelance artists, Matthieu and I are no exception to the rule: we keep working every day, without a clear knowledge of who is to receive the art at the other end, or if there will be a performance. Because we are naturally introverted and independent, we have not suffered too much from isolation. We practice for several hours, and because we are two in 400 square feet sharing time on the digital organ and the virginal, practice goes on from morning till night. The virginal is carefully wrapped in a blanket, as to not disturb our neighbours. We have put online old recordings (here and there) that we have retrieved from our files. We are also working on future projects: upcoming recordings and videos, a creation named Tanz (with dancers, organ and cello) for 2021, keeping up with the repertoire of postponed concerts... And just because we are who we are, we have come up with two "in the time of Coronavirus" projects: Matthieu's virtual choir and our weekly noon-hour Friday organ broadcasts on Facebook Live where we perform from our living room. In the time of Coronavirus, artists make it a badge of honour to make humankind dream, and point the way to a better world, more human and humane, more spiritual, fairer, and where pain and grief are alleviated by beauty. Keep well, keep safe, and keep dreaming.