Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post’s art and architecture critic, returns to the National Gallery of Art for the first time since March, hoping that “I might escape the outside world for a few hours, shut out the chaos and crisis,” only to find that “the vast majority of the objects were mute and meaningless, and only those that somehow referenced other periods of tumult and decline spoke with clarity. I had entirely lost my ability to experience art as escape.”
Kennicott was experiencing visual art, mainly sculpture. Is music – another art form he has covered, in St. Louis, then in DC – a more viable form of escape? Conceivably, in that much of it is “abstract” or highly subjective in meaning. Music often is mood-altering, but perhaps just as often mood-intensifying.
Music’s power also diminishes with over-exposure – the more you hear, the more easily it becomes background sound.
Exposure with discretion to music of high intellectual or sensory octane can be liberating from real-world concerns, if you listen closely and with care.