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real bass (live music rant)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

last night I was schooled, again, in what real bass should be. I had tickets to a performance by what is probably the best-sounding orchestra in the world, the Vienna Philharmonic. and never mind the clothes people wear (or don't) to those kinds of concerts, this performance rocked people, it knocked everyone's socks off. the applause after their take on Mahler 6th Symphony was laced with shouting, yelping, hollering, hoots and cries and multiple calls, with most people standing, for more. eight double bass players (one with a five string), nine cellos, a contrabasson, a bass horn, a bass trombone, and no fewer than four percussionists helping themselves to tympani, drums, and rare large contraptions made for enormous, voluminous, driving, thrilling bass.

 

yes, of course there were astonishing colors in the mids and highs, as the orchestration (this is a work from 1906) moved about the stage and around the room, with the full spectrum of human hearing and sensing engaged - but what really astonished me was the quality of disciplined, honed, toned bass. nothing - not my large planars, not my large subwoofers, not my leather-padded tube-amped beyers, nothing can substitute for sharing the air of a room that is being agitated in this manner by a group of highly specialized experts. wow!

post #2 of 5

lol, Mahler's 6th, I don't know what was more hilarious about it, the giant hammer or the off stage cowbells that sounded like someone was constantly tripping up while carrying a pile of plates

post #3 of 5

Quote:

Originally Posted by melomaniac View Post

last night I was schooled, again, in what real bass should be. I had tickets to a performance by what is probably the best-sounding orchestra in the world, the Vienna Philharmonic. and never mind the clothes people wear (or don't) to those kinds of concerts, this performance rocked people, it knocked everyone's socks off. the applause after their take on Mahler 6th Symphony was laced with shouting, yelping, hollering, hoots and cries and multiple calls, with most people standing, for more. eight double bass players (one with a five string), nine cellos, a contrabasson, a bass horn, a bass trombone, and no fewer than four percussionists helping themselves to tympani, drums, and rare large contraptions made for enormous, voluminous, driving, thrilling bass.

 

yes, of course there were astonishing colors in the mids and highs, as the orchestration (this is a work from 1906) moved about the stage and around the room, with the full spectrum of human hearing and sensing engaged - but what really astonished me was the quality of disciplined, honed, toned bass. nothing - not my large planars, not my large subwoofers, not my leather-padded tube-amped beyers, nothing can substitute for sharing the air of a room that is being agitated in this manner by a group of highly specialized experts. wow!

Any idea why my dream is to own a decent church with a real church organ? 
 

 

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by melomaniac View Post

last night I was schooled, again, in what real bass should be. I had tickets to a performance by what is probably the best-sounding orchestra in the world, the Vienna Philharmonic. and never mind the clothes people wear (or don't) to those kinds of concerts, this performance rocked people, it knocked everyone's socks off. the applause after their take on Mahler 6th Symphony was laced with shouting, yelping, hollering, hoots and cries and multiple calls, with most people standing, for more. eight double bass players (one with a five string), nine cellos, a contrabasson, a bass horn, a bass trombone, and no fewer than four percussionists helping themselves to tympani, drums, and rare large contraptions made for enormous, voluminous, driving, thrilling bass.

 

yes, of course there were astonishing colors in the mids and highs, as the orchestration (this is a work from 1906) moved about the stage and around the room, with the full spectrum of human hearing and sensing engaged - but what really astonished me was the quality of disciplined, honed, toned bass. nothing - not my large planars, not my large subwoofers, not my leather-padded tube-amped beyers, nothing can substitute for sharing the air of a room that is being agitated in this manner by a group of highly specialized experts. wow!



I must say I'm jealous! Mahlers 6th is a powerful piece especially the first movement, and nice description. I've often pointed out, that colored headphones give you more of what a live experience is like, as opposed to neutral sounding. No matter how well the mikes are placed and how accurate the recording is, a neutral hp will only get you closer to the recording.... not the feeling of being there.

 

But there is nothing like the real thing to give you that, as you say "wow"!

 

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post

I must say I'm jealous! Mahlers 6th is a powerful piece especially the first movement, and nice description


 

yes, it was a privilege.

 

something I never realized until yesterday: there is no definitive sequence of the 2nd and 3rd movements. Mahler apparently set precedents for playing the Scherzo first or the Andante first. I saw the musicians turn back the pages of their scores after the movement they played second to play as third something printed second... you'd think such an august body would get their scores custom-printed for ergonomics... maybe it was just how semyon bychkov wanted it. 

 

another fun fact: from beginning to end, on three stands up front, there were two extra violins and an extra viola. nobody used them, guess they were spares in case someone busts a string! ;-)

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