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Topic: Another experience of "seeing it live"

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  1. #1
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    Another experience of "seeing it live"

    A week or so ago somebody wrote about their first experience seeing a live symphony orchestra. Well I’ve seen a few, but I’ve been attending much more often since I’ve been playing with GSO. For instance, I bought seasons tickets to the local orchestra, the Nashua Symphony Orchestra.

    I also bought a season of passes to rehearsals for the Boston Symphony and have so far seen one, a great show under the baton of Andre Previn.

    Last night I saw the first regular (non-rehearsal) show at Symphony Hall. (I’m embarrassed to say I’ve been in New England for 15 years and had never been to a BSO concert.) James Levine is the BSO’s new music director and was conducting. The show included Ligeti’s Lontano, Mozart’s Prague Symphony, Shoenberg’s 5 pieces for orchestra and Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Prentemps. I was 5 rows back, practically in the 2nd violin section (they use the classical setup instead of the “new” setup with 1st and second violins next to each other).

    What I didn’t add to the other thread on live music (because I read it at work and can’t post from work) was that I can hear so much more going on with a live orchestra than a CD. No place was this truer than with The Rite of Spring. This is one of my all time favorites and I’ve heard dozens of versions and have four on CD, not including Disney’s from Fantasia, in my collection and yet I can’t believe how much I never heard until last night! I totally appreciate that piece from an entirely new angle.

    And the Shoenberg – I have a CD of it but never really heard it until last night – I almost didn’t recognize it. It’s such a great piece of music but I never realized how dynamic it is. Somebody 2 seats down from me fell asleep during Lontano but I can assure you there was no snoring during the 5 pieces (or Sacre).

    Music is made to be heard live, classical music much more than pop or rock. I can pick out every note of every instrument simultaneously at all times when I hear it live. I’m lucky if I can pick out one or two instruments on a CD. To me listening to a CD is almost like seeing a picture of a banquet while seeing the music live is actually being there, tasting the food, hearing the sounds, etc. There is no comparison. And of course there is no replacement for riding on a subway car full of people in Halloween costumes on the way to and from Symphony Hall (Ok, a few people had on Red Sox gear instead of Halloween costumes).

    No matter how the technology improves and how close to reality it will eventually become, there will never be an experience of seeing a live orchestra from a small city orchestra like the NSO to a world class organization like the BSO nothing will replicate the experience.
    Trent P. McDonald

  2. #2

    Re: Another experience of "seeing it live"

    Ah, yes, I wrote about my first experience a couple weeks ago, and I absolutely agree with you. Especially in the very quiet pianissimo passages; you can hear a lot more than you can with headphones! And the fortissimo passages are not only louder, but seem much more dynamic. Nothing is better than being there in person. I can't wait for my next trip! This is definitely something I'll be doing for the rest of my life (hopefully).
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  3. #3
    Senior Member CString's Avatar
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    Re: Another experience of "seeing it live"

    Couldn't agree with you guys more. Nothing replaces the sound and feel of a live orchestra experience.

    By the way, if you get a chance to experience Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe or Orff's Carmina Burana live do NOT miss it. Talk about a difference between live and recording! I lack the vocabulary to describe either. I can only say that the depth of Ravel's mastery can only be found in a live performance - and it is soooooooo deep.

    -Chad
    Me fail English? That's unpossible.

  4. #4

    Re: Another experience of "seeing it live"

    I agree with you all too, but isn't it great to have this technology to use to let out all the msuic that is within us?
    I don't mean to take away from the excitement of your recent experiences. I've heard many concerts, and hopefully will be blessed to hear many more.
    DPDan

  5. #5
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    Re: Another experience of "seeing it live"

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanHannifin
    Ah, yes, I wrote about my first experience a couple weeks ago, and I absolutely agree with you. Especially in the very quiet pianissimo passages; you can hear a lot more than you can with headphones! And the fortissimo passages are not only louder, but seem much more dynamic. Nothing is better than being there in person. I can't wait for my next trip! This is definitely something I'll be doing for the rest of my life (hopefully).
    Sean, yes, it was your post that I was thinking of.

    One thing I need to comment on from your post (which I reread) – the age of the crowd. The rehearsal I saw was full of “old people”, but who else can you expect to have three hours in the middle of the day on a weekday? I was actually expecting a lot of students, but there weren’t as many as I thought would be there.

    The people at Saturday’s show were overall much younger.
    Trent P. McDonald

  6. #6
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    Re: Another experience of "seeing it live"

    Quote Originally Posted by CString
    Couldn't agree with you guys more. Nothing replaces the sound and feel of a live orchestra experience.

    By the way, if you get a chance to experience Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe or Orff's Carmina Burana live do NOT miss it. Talk about a difference between live and recording! I lack the vocabulary to describe either. I can only say that the depth of Ravel's mastery can only be found in a live performance - and it is soooooooo deep.

    -Chad
    Orff's Carmina Burana is such a powerful piece, particularly the first movement (O Fortuna is played prominently at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and draws a crowd), I can only imagine what it would be like live.

    I recently saw a Ravel piece played live (forget the title, something like “Tombstones”) and was very impressed. I’m only familiar with a little of his work(Daphnis and Chloe being one I have on CD). Maybe I need to see more of his work performed to better appreciate it. (I am going to see his orchestration of “Pictures at an Exhibition” soon, though I already love that piece.)
    Trent P. McDonald

  7. #7
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    Re: Another experience of "seeing it live"

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN
    I agree with you all too, but isn't it great to have this technology to use to let out all the msuic that is within us?
    I don't mean to take away from the excitement of your recent experiences. I've heard many concerts, and hopefully will be blessed to hear many more.
    DPDan
    I went to a lot of concerts right after I finished school, mostly watching university orchestras (not only was it a cheap night out, I got a chance to get back on campus). After that, until this year, I’ve only been to a handful of concerts. Now that I’m getting back into it I can’t see how I stayed away.

    However, that doesn’t mean that appreciate the technology any less, only that I have a greater appreciation of the “real thing” - I agree that it is great to have these tools that can release the music that’s within us and thank Gary and Tom for offering these great tools.
    Trent P. McDonald

  8. #8

    Re: Another experience of "seeing it live"

    "The show included Ligeti’s Lontano, Mozart’s Prague Symphony, Shoenberg’s 5 pieces for orchestra and Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Prentemps."


    Yikes, that's quite a concert! Very ecclectic (not to mention pretty long!)

    I would have to agree with you. My graduate thesis that I finished a few years back is being performed at Ohio Northern University in the winter and I absolutely can't wait for it! If I can finish it, I'll post a GPO demo of it.


    Jonny
    For more information, check out www.jonathoncox.com/intro.html

    "The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." - Igor Stravinsky

  9. #9

    Re: Another experience of "seeing it live"

    Quote Originally Posted by trentpmcd
    I recently saw a Ravel piece played live (forget the title, something like “Tombstones”) and was very impressed. I’m only familiar with a little of his work(Daphnis and Chloe being one I have on CD). Maybe I need to see more of his work performed to better appreciate it. (I am going to see his orchestration of “Pictures at an Exhibition” soon, though I already love that piece.)

    Probably "Le Tombeau de Couperin". Great piece.

    Dennis Burton

  10. #10
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    Re: Another experience of "seeing it live"

    Quote Originally Posted by sandden1
    Probably "Le Tombeau de Couperin". Great piece.

    Dennis Burton
    That was it. My French is horrible. Yes, great piece.
    Trent P. McDonald

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