Michaela Merz

Street Musicians

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I love artists, who perform on the street. Whether classical music, song, pop, paintings, acrobats, comedians, actors, living statues. I can watch them all and enthuse about a good performance.

I admire the really good artists and feel sorry for the mediocre. I like watching and let myself by entertained and carried away. Then I’m generous, because a good performance should be rewarded and if someone succeeds in making me laugh, I also want to show my appreciation.

There are highlights, like in June at Whitsun in Ascona with the Artisti di strada, who transform the piazza into numerous open-air stages. One can laugh, wonder and take part (very often against one’s will) from morning to late in the night. The artists come from the whole world and also provide world class performances. In London in Covent Garden there is also always something to admire with a wide range of opera music through to popular comedy. In Prague on the Altstadtplatz there is also entertainment to be found.

German-speaking Switzerland is miserly with such offerings. Perhaps it’s because of the strict laws, which require an official licence for practically everything. Occasionally there are street musicians at the lakeside in Zürich, whom one can listen to, and in Berne not far from the station towards the Bundeshaus there are also occasionally musicians. One of my clients has its offices in Berne. I visited them and was having a conversation with the CFO. Below the window a fairly well played violin piece of classical music. I thought it was great and commented very positively about the artistic performance.

The CFO mustered me with a disapproving look and said: “Michaela, just imagine, this guy below has a repertoire of exactly 15 minutes. He plays it over and again for up to 4 hours. At the latest after 2 hours, when you have heard the same piece 9 times, you want to break something over his head. But you don’t do it, because it would have criminal consequences. On top of that, today he is playing quite well, but sometimes others also come, who play badly, and their repertoire includes only 3 pieces. After at most five minutes they have played everything they can and then they play it again and again. In the evening I have a headache.”

I looked at him in amazement. I had never considered it like that. Yes, clearly, the freedom of one ends, where the freedom of the other is restricted. And being annoyed against one’s will, when you have to concentrate and should yourself achieve something, is not funny.

I still enjoy watching the artists in the street. But I have become more critical. And for all who like to laugh, I recommend Ascona. That is a sure winner.

Image source: Dieter Poschmann / pixelio.de

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