I won’t mention any names, but many years ago there was a great string quartet that was famous for its members not getting along. People joked that it was a tragedy for this quartet if they showed up in a town that only had three hotels. I don’t know if we can blame this particular quartet, but one theory that took hold was that the best results for chamber music groups are produced by conflict, and the resolution of conflict.
I would like to on record as saying that I think this theory is a bunch of hooey. Maybe it worked for that one quartet, and maybe it even works for some others, but in my experience over many years – both playing and listening – I’ve always found that the best results come from agreement, from seeing and hearing things in similar ways. Musicians who fundamentally disagree can rehearse a piece twenty-five times and it won’t make any difference. But like-minded musicians can rehearse for an hour and sound like they’ve been playing together for years.
This has been A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.