‘Most composers know they will never be heard’main
From a thoughtful essay by Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College:
Most composers and performers know they will never be heard. The sounds come together in their heads, are painfully transcribed onto sheets of paper, and are left in an undisturbed pile. Over days and years, scales are practiced and melodies sent soaring to the ceilings of small rooms, but they never roam outside. Most of these sounds will not reach the ears of audiences. That is how music and the public mix: in a few distillate droplets, which, through Fortune’s blessing, escape the current that sweeps all things downstream toward oblivion. We tend to judge this a horrible waste, the frightening abyss of stymied possibility. If music is a cherished mode of communication, someone must listen, we think, or else the world is diminished and everyone in it. In our individualist age, we generalize: The world must listen to me, or I am no longer what I was meant to be.
But is this the case?….
One of my closest friends was the late David Yeagley, a remarkable classical composer and piano performer whose artistic career was partially derailed by his unpalatable political views, which he disseminated on a variety of reviled blogs. Recovering from three bouts of cancer before finally succumbing, he was unremitting in his creative energies, supporting himself with odd jobs, working as a group-home assistant, and managing a few desultory adjunct teaching posts….
Yeagley died in a deteriorating house in Oklahoma City, surrounded by boxes and boxes of his manuscripts—quartets, masses, piano music, symphonies. It was an astonishing production, one that no one had seen and no one will hear. Along with these works, however, were piles of notebooks—Bible studies, commentaries, devotions, prayers. He had worked on these as well, all his life, meticulously, quietly, fervently, all of them destined for Another Ear.