In truth, one should be grateful. All one’s acquaintances are healthy—and as for those who weren’t, at least the virus didn’t hit them all that badly. Considering how the ongoing pandemic has now claimed over a million lives worldwide, that’s actually quite something.
One’s financial situation could be better: as is the case for many other artists, lots has been postponed and lots more has been cancelled with zero replacement—but somehow, one manages. And very, very gradually, new jobs are coming in—at least for 2021.
So one really would have to be satisfied. If only it weren’t for those things whose absence is felt more and more each day. For which one now almost painfully yearns.
Live concerts, for example. Whether the guest appearance by a singer-songwriter at that little club or an evening with the Vienna Symphony at the Konzerthaus. This immediate experience of being right there, experiencing every moment of a piece of music—all the while conscious of how it will never again be heard in exactly the same way since every performance is unique, with nothing that could replace it.
Lots of artists are making an effort: individuals are streaming concerts live from their living rooms, while big concert venues and orchestras are putting videos of past concerts online. But listening doesn’t involve just the ears—and all of one’s senses are reached when experiencing a concert live: one feels the music, smells one’s surroundings, and perceives the space where the performance is happening as well as the rest of the audience and the musicians as a whole. No sense is left out.
Concerts are, of course, once again being held … not many, but gradually more and more. Attending one, however, is a bit weird: with strict security measures, assigned seating, and a thinned-out audience—because a great many people are staying home out of fear. And what’s always made a good concert good is somehow missing: the unpredictability, the surprise, the proximity to others. We’ll probably still be yearning for all that for some time to come.