What is Music? What is Art?

In recent radio interview broadcasts, respectively, with Jim Bloom of Cleveland, Ohio area station WKSU, and later with WXYT Detroit NewsTalk Radio host Mark Scott, Owain Phyfe summed-up his passion for music in soliloquy with the following prose:

"What is music?? What is art?
'Art is the subjective re-creation of reality
based upon
the fundamental metaphysical value judgments of the artist.'
Show me works of an artist,
and I'll show you his value judgments.
Show me the art and music of a society,
and I'll show you the value judgments of that society.
Today's art and music demonstrates quite eloquently
the value judgments of today,
that man is some kind of tragic intruder on this planet,
that knowledge is uncertainty,
that moral judgment is immoral,?
that mediocrity is to be rewarded,
that the mundane and even the depraved are to be exalted,
that in order to survive
a man must...
join a gang,
and thereafter, he may not live for his own sake.
Future scholars will evaluate the art and music of our day
and our day will come to be known
as the age
of envy and guilt.
But what about us?
What about me, I'm an artist.
But what are my value judgments?
What are yours?
I do value greatly
that which I find interwoven
in the art and music of the Renaissance,
the death of mysticism,
the end of the tyranny of faith and force,
the proclamation that man's mind is not impotent,
and yes,
given the proper stimulus, neither is the rest of him,
the rebirth, the rediscovery of reason,
the knowledge that man by his very nature
must exist in freedom,
and that freedom means freedom from compulsion,
that reality is real,
that truth and justice are possible,
and that love, my friends,
is a response to value
and cannot be given indiscriminately,
that virtue is worth pursuing,
that man can be heroic,
that happiness is not to be sacrificed,
that life is an adventure worth living."

Owain Phyfe (1997)

Back to index