Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Haydn or Beethoven? Who are you?


Last week has brought change into my life and as usual the change made me reflect on all aspects of it. I would like to share some of my thoughts that are keeping me up at night...
One of the things that I have been thinking about and am still milling over is the way I work creatively- or lately the lack of it.
At the Classical Concert on Thursday we were listening to one of Haydn's Symphonies. And that sparked a new thought. Haydn worked everyday on his music- well it was his job. He worked clear hours and was employed to compose a certain amount of symphonies every year.Doing so he produced over 60 symphonies far more than many other musician of his time. Hemingway worked all his life as a writer and had a routine which he religiously followed (when it came to his writing). He spent everyday a certain amount of time writing. I love the work of both, but also feel that sometimes it lacks the madness and power of a piece that was produced because of inspiration.
On the other hand there is Beethoven, who wrote only when he was inspired. But then he wouldn't or couldn't stop until it was finished.His inspiration took over his entire being and he became the music and only by writing it would he be freed from it. An amazing but also painful process at times. His work is so complex and at times borders at the insane- its genius. He also only ever written nine symphonies. And when he couldn't write, he was in utterly unhappy.
I (which you might have noticed due to the lack of jewellery production in last 3months) follow the latter pattern. I have been reflecting on the reasons why I do so. After stripping away a thousand dishonest reasons and even more excuses, I am left a bit baffled. I discovered that I love working while being completely obsessed and also feel like I would cheat if I would just work for the sake of production...Looking at those two amazing men, I have to convince myself that I am wrong.
But is there only Black and White? Is there a middle path?
Thinking about it I could only think of Collette who followed both systems- and I wish I could ask her what her thoughts to this would be!
I guess the solution is something in the middle. Now I am pondering over how to achieve that.
What do you think?

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aimee said...

i guess the solution is what is right for you, what keeps you satisfied and driven :)

Anonymous said...

Great post. I had to give up making art because I had too many Beethoven tendencies than were good for me or my mental/emotional health. That was one of the main reasons I switched instead to writing about art - making it one step removed from me was much easier for me to cope with. What I like about the Hayden approach though, is that by putting in the regular hours I think one is more likely to get past the crappy stuff to the better ideas. I'm sure there's a middle way - hope you manage to find a way that suits you!

Jesse said...

I'm curious about Collette's use of both systems; that seems sensible. Work like mad when inspiration strikes, and keep working doggedly when there's none. For me the hardest thing is to keep working; I've read a couple of times that writers have said that the art of writing is the art of staying at your desk. Philip Pullman recommended sitting at your desk for a set amount of time every day, regardless of how much you write.

I'm at my most productive when I set times for working, and don't work longer hours than I've set.

avant garde design said...

hmmmm...i'm more beeethoven i suppose, completely obsessed with being creative and creativity in all fascets but not always 100% driven to produce. i don't think i could honestly bang out art and feel that i had put my heart and soul into it. so then i don't do as much as i should. also lately my excuse is time and the management of it. i need to get better at that before any more art can be produced. i've been itchy lately to produce something on a large scale. not sure what it will be quite yet but i'm working towards it. :)

Valerie said...

both of the post + comments are very interesting.
i'd say not necessary middle, but what is good for YOU. when at the end of the day or week, you feel it was fullfilled with inspiration, work, production or whatever, and it leaves you happy with your mind free to enjoy the weekend.
as for me i have to balance it with a family schedule (hard !!!) but i would tend to think i'm the one who work like mad when inspiration strikes, and take it easy/surf the net/take pictures/read... when it's not there.

Cindy said...

i would agree that you should go with what works best for you (feels natural) and it might change over time. i think the most important thing is to enjoy some facet of the work. for me, i'm really results-oriented and work towards the finished goal. for example, i don't really enjoy day to day gardening tasks, but i LOVE the flowers, so the end result keeps me going. hope that makes sense ;).


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