My life has been in upheaval for the past 6 months. After graduating my post graduate studies, getting to the "next thing" took some time, during which I haven't really gotten much chance to get into the concert hall.
That changed yesterday (thank heaven!). I went to see Pacific Symphony perform Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" along with Corelli's "Christmas Concerto" last night. Wow, what a joy it was to actually sit and listen to classical music live!
I work for Pacific Symphony, so it is not appropriate for me to provide a review. What I can say is I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Live music has a way of connecting performers with their audience in a manner that's just not possible any other way.
Vivaldi, Corelli and Greig --the three composer's of the night, aren't really composers I would typically pay to hear performed. I'm more of late 20th, early 21st century music lover. There is a lot of great music from the common practice period, Bach through Mahler; it's just not my preference in terms of music. The further back you go the less likely it is for me to put it on the stereo.
Still, sitting in the concert hall last night was thrilling. It's not like listening to a recording. First of all, live performances are less perfect than recordings, because there are no chances to go back and fix them in the mix, or retake sections that didn't quite go they way they should. Still, professional musicians are professional because they take the time to ensure a quality performance every time. Depending on the concert hall, the acoustics might be off, less than what you might achieve with a 5.1 Dolby surround sound system in your living room. Yet, listening to music in a large room (i.e., concert hall) has an effect that even the best reverb can't quite recreate. Last, but most important, live performances carry with them an energy which mechanical recordings cannot capture. Musicians put their hearts into the music, and that energy floats through the concert hall; a stereo system just can't recreate that magic. It is this mixture of imperfection, experienced with live artists creating a connection that makes the concert hall so amazing.
Whether you're a baroque fan or more a late Romantic, lover of the avant-gard or high classical, prefer intimate chamber music or the full orchestra experience, there is no substitute for a live performance. If you haven't been to a concert in the last month, find a concert hall near you and go! You won't regret it.
Better yet, take someone you know who isn't a classical music fan, or perhaps likes classical music, but hasn't yet gone to a concert - TAKE THEM TO ONE! Change their life, for the better! Show them what they're missing.
Note: I was supposed to attend a concert of the LA Chamber Orchestra tonight. Unfortunately, because I'm still trying to get settled in, I was unable to attend. So, there is a mix of joy and sorrow this weekend. I did get to go to a concert, but not as many as I'd like!
Note 2: After the concert last night, my wife and I stopped to get a bite to eat. We left the restaurant at 11:30 only to discover buses in Orange Country stop around 11. There were a couple of late night buses we were able to catch getting us within a mile of our home, but it was a cold night for an after-midnight stroll. Even with the less than desirable transportation difficulties, I'm glad I went!