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Who needs this kind of music? Musicians don't want to play in the half-empty halls and for free
6 August 2020, 10:31
Who needs this kind of music? Musicians don't want to play in the half-empty halls and for free
The rules of the concert and theatrical life, which were introduced by the officials in connection with the pandemic, isolate these arts and make their existence almost impossible.

The famous pianist and composer Anton Batagov writes on his blog about the important problem that has arisen as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, who believes that the attitude of the authorities towards musicians in Russia cannot be explained by any logic:

“Moscow halls are selling tickets for concerts in the first half of the season, and, in fact, the concerts will begin in the coming days. Of course this is good. But there is one thing that darkens this joy: so far, no more than half of the seats are allowed to be filled. In fact, taking into account the configuration of the halls, this is about 40 percent. Of course, the halls cannot remain closed, and musicians cannot exist without concerts, therefore both organizers and musicians are forced to accept such rules of the game.

But personally I, forgive me, do not agree to accept these rules. That's why.

Almost everything has already returned to normal operation. In addition to the concert and theatrical life. Shops and restaurants are open, public transport is running, planes are flying, construction projects are being built, church services are being served, etc. But, for example, the seats on planes are closer than in most halls, that is, people sit closer to each other than at a concert. An airplane (or, say, a peregrine falcon) is a small enclosed space (again, you cannot compare it with a hall), and the probability of getting infected there is much higher. And in the metro and in many other places, the distance between citizens is zero. Good or bad is another matter. But it is so. And at the same time, this seating arrangement in the halls is, to put it mildly, illogical. People who come to the concert will not get there from a vacuum. And when they enter the hall, will they be standing two meters from each other and from the hall staff checking tickets, selling programs and wanting a pleasant evening?

By the way, a distance of 1.5 - 2 meters is actually ineffective. If you're interested, read about the research this spring. For the distance to really guarantee the inability to get infected, you need at least 7-8 meters. That is, these 1.5-2 m is a kind of convention that only turns people into paranoid. Reasonable measures are very simple: do not leave the house if you are sick, but in a healthy state, use antibacterial agents, going out "in people". But the world now lives by laws in which common sense is absent. Fear paralyzed the ability to think and act adequately.

Doctors in this situation turned out to be literally supermen. They do their job on the verge (and beyond) the possible, for which they bow and respect. And we ordinary people are now trying to restore the life destroyed by "antiviral measures". In different countries, the degree of destruction is different, but everywhere - similar processes. This virus will now always be with us, therefore, awareness and responsibility of each person to himself and others is necessary. This is quite enough. And all these ordering rules only get in the way.

The functioning of the halls (that is, the life of the musicians and organizers) depends on the sale of tickets. This is a mechanism that has long been calculated in all its details. If we reduce the number of seats by more than 2 times, then at best it will be possible to "go to zero". Ask any manager in any country. Then it would be more honest to just order: "From now on, musicians play for free, managers work for free, and better - look for another job".

I think (and not only me) that this is not good for everyone who goes on stage, and for everyone who is involved in the organization. I do not want to say that people of other professions are doing well, but it is the musicians who find themselves in the worst situation. It is clear that it is very difficult for everyone. But these are the rules of concert and theatrical life that isolate these types of art and make their existence almost impossible. I certainly understand colleagues who will take the stage in the near future, but it is unlikely that their opinion is very different from mine. And it would be nice if those who issue orders listened to this. And just to the voice of common sense..."

So, I don't know yet when "a man will become a rainbow", I don't know when "Letters from Rachmaninoff" and two other solo programs will be. And I do not know when the "optical illusion" will happen (this is Pushkin with Kharms).

I will be happy to return to planning concerts when normal seating is allowed. We hope it will be soon.

"These are the big cucumbers on sale in stores now!" (Daniil Kharms)..."

Blog readers generally agreed with the author. This is how Marina Yegorova writes about the egregious injustice against musicians and artists:

"Agree with you. We still have the Mariinsky Theater. All three shifts. At the entrance, the temperature is measured, spectators must be wearing masks and gloves. Chess seating. And in the metro, only 30 percent are wearing masks, although no one canceled the governor's order. And nobody measures the temperature. It is much more likely to get infected than in the theater..."

Pianist Yelena Kushnerova is in solidarity with Batagov:

I'm not going to play in such conditions either. Moreover, my halls are small, if they are 40% full, it means that I have to play for free and, moreover, to the detriment of my feeling (who likes to play in front of a half-empty hall). Since I do not see an opportunity to function normally in the coming years, apparently, I will have to tie up with this business at all. Since after a break of a year... to go on stage... in general, there are big doubts on this topic..."

Natalya Monastyrskaya drew attention to the problem of perception of such music:

I treat the problems of musicians and concert organizers with understanding. I will add that the audience is unlikely to be able to comfortably and properly perceive music while sitting in masks. So until the restrictions are lifted, I will listen to music at home..."