Do you like to go to classical concerts or prefer to listen to recordings?
Jul 9, 2008 at 9:36 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 31

Singapura

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This was said about classical concerts in 1961! How do classical music afficionados feel in 2008?

The concert is an antique form as it now stands. Most towns cannot afford the best concert artists and I don't see the advantage of seeing a second-rate artist over hearing a superb one. - LIEBERSON

With all the progress that we have made in the reproduction of sound, I have yet to hear on record what I hear in the concert hall or what I hear in my mind when I read a score. - MAREK

In a recording an artist can be encouraged to give a more immediately intense performance than he could under concert or theatre conditions. - CULSHAW

For me, the most important thing is the element of chance that is built into a live performance. The very great drawback of recorded sound is the fact that it is always the same. No matter how wonderful a recording is, I know that I couldn't live with it -- even of my own music -- with the same nuances forever. - COPLAND

I can't believe that people really prefer to go to the concert hall under intellectually trying, socially trying, physically trying conditions, unable to repeat something they have missed, when they can sit home under the most comfortable and stimulating circumstances and hear it as they want to hear it. I can't imagine what would happen to literature today if one were obliged to congregate in an unpleasant hall and read novels projected on a screen. - BABBITT

Many people have come to the concert hall expecting to hear the glowing, glossy, beautiful performances they have heard on records only to be shocked by the natural acoustics. The Dvorák Cello Concerto on a recording can easily have the soloist as the absolute protagonist, with great presence, whereas he is often drowned out by the orchestra in the concert hall. But I also think that many more will feel that the adventure, the accidental excitement of a live performance is much more stimulating and satisfying than just listening constantly to a record. - CHAPIN

I think that records have already replaced concerts for a great many people and have affected a great number of others in their concert and operagoing. If you push this logically, to the complete replacement of concerts by recordings, you would have complete disaster. For then you would have no artists coming up, trying out in halls, making careers for themselves. It would be disastrous not only for live music but for the gramophone. - HAREWOOD
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 11:41 AM Post #2 of 31

ClieOS

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Live.

I was lucky enough to score some free ticket to a concert performed by Singapore Chinese Orchestra, than a few weeks later I got their CD (a high quality recording released by Hugo Productions, which basically covers 80% of the music they performed that night). Despite playing the record through multiple set of speakers, headphones, and earphones, with or without amp and on different sources, I still think the music has something missing in it...
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 2:30 PM Post #3 of 31

majid

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In the early 90s I had Prokofiev and Shostakovich CDs, but was ambivalent about them, until I listened to a couple performances by the Yale youth orchestra. The live performance was the revelation that turned me on to these composers. There is just no substitute to the excitement of a live performance, even one by a relatively minor orchestra.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 3:40 PM Post #4 of 31

zotjen

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There is no way a recording can compare to a live performance. Of course, you can have a really bad live performance, but even then the live experience wins out.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 3:46 PM Post #5 of 31

robm321

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Live is always better... what's great about recordings is that you can hear dead people
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and people that don't come around your area
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 4:06 PM Post #6 of 31

scompton

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I voted I get my fix any way I can, because it's basically true. I can't go to a concert every day. I don't have the time or money. I listen to music every day though.

Also, I slightly disagree with live is always better. I agree that it's true for 99.9999% of classical, but for non-classical it's not always true. I'll take a recording over an arena concert any day. Same goes for non arena concerts that are too loud. I went to an Ethiopian restaurant a few weeks ago on a Friday night. I didn't know beforehand that they have live music on Fridays. It was loud to the point of pain. I would have like the music if it wasn't so loud. I don't want to wear ear plugs while eating diner. There was only about 30 people there, it didn't need to be that loud.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 5:17 PM Post #8 of 31

2deadeyes

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From past experiences with concerts @ Lincoln Center, I prefer, by far, the live performances over their recorded counterparts. I can't say the same for rock concerts though.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 7:36 PM Post #9 of 31

mbhaub

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While I would always prefer live, the simple fact is that doing so would severely limit one's repertoire. Most orchestras throughout the world are so stuck in the Brahms-Beethoven-Tchaikovsky rut that you never, or rarely, get to hear other music. Personally, I've heard Beethoven so many times live that I just don't care anymore! Give me something new! Interestingly, I'm reading the 4th volume of H. de la Grange's monumental biography of Mahler, and critics and audiences 100 years ago made the same complaints about lack of variety. So that's why I mostly listen to cds: variety. With recorded music I would never get to hear a staggering amount of music that hardly ever gets played live. Plus, I don't have to put up with the old lady in front of me s-l-o-w-l-y unwrapping that cellophane candy, and I don't have to put up with the selfish 25 yo using her cell phone. And, I can pause between movements and get another beer...
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 7:57 PM Post #10 of 31

Uncle Erik

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Live, every chance possible. I do agree that live performances and classical radio stations rely too heavily on the "greatest hits" catalog. You rarely get any 20th century, baroque or more obscure works. You have to go to recordings for those.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 8:28 PM Post #11 of 31

scompton

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I saw 2 late 20th century pieces this season. Del Tredici's Final Alice was on a program with Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1 and Friedman's Sacred Heart: Explosion (a world premier) was on a program with Beethoven's 9th. Both concerts had question and answer sessions after the concert with Slatkin, the composer, and soloists. The NSO does quite a few 20th century music, usually mixed with romantic pieces, but also quite a few 20th century only concerts.

With Slatkin leaving, I hope the question and answer sessions continue. They're very informative.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 8:34 PM Post #12 of 31

ncmando

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Our local orchestra in Raleigh has been playing with bluegrass guests, concerts featuring Led Zeppelin, Beatles hits, etc. Great fun, and not the same old classical! Of course they do that to...
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 8:37 PM Post #13 of 31

Bryan T

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I prefer live, but I also like to be familiar with the piece when I hear it in concert, so recordings definitely have their place. I also listen to a lot of music that is rarely performed in my area, so recordings are the only way to hear them.

Bryan
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 8:47 PM Post #14 of 31

scompton

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Live, every chance possible. I do agree that live performances and classical radio stations rely too heavily on the "greatest hits" catalog. You rarely get any 20th century, baroque or more obscure works. You have to go to recordings for those.


Here in DC, we had 2 classical stations forever. One, a public station played a pretty good mix but everything still pretty accessible. In other words, just the easiest of 20th century music. They also had a lot of syndicated programming like Performance Today, Sunday Baroque, Met Opera, etc. The other was a commercial pop classical station. They didn't even play whole pieces, just 1 movement.

About 2 years ago, the public station switched to an all news/talk format. Then a year ago, the commercial station switched to Spanish religious programing and at the same time, the public station switched back to classical. It's also almost entirely local programming. The only syndication is Saturday afternoon opera, either the Met in season, or NPR's World of Opera.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 11:03 PM Post #15 of 31

Bunnyears

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mbhaub /img/forum/go_quote.gif
While I would always prefer live, the simple fact is that doing so would severely limit one's repertoire. Most orchestras throughout the world are so stuck in the Brahms-Beethoven-Tchaikovsky rut that you never, or rarely, get to hear other music. Personally, I've heard Beethoven so many times live that I just don't care anymore! Give me something new! Interestingly, I'm reading the 4th volume of H. de la Grange's monumental biography of Mahler, and critics and audiences 100 years ago made the same complaints about lack of variety. So that's why I mostly listen to cds: variety. With recorded music I would never get to hear a staggering amount of music that hardly ever gets played live. Plus, I don't have to put up with the old lady in front of me s-l-o-w-l-y unwrapping that cellophane candy, and I don't have to put up with the selfish 25 yo using her cell phone. And, I can pause between movements and get another beer...


I must have been at the same concert. The crinkle of the paper went on for an excruciatingly long period, and during the pianissimo too!
eek.gif


Live music in a great hall is always special. Cds, vinyl, dvds only begin to approximate the sounds of the instruments. In our seats at Carnegie Hall, when the double basses are going you can feel the floor vibrating and buzzing with the huge bass waves they generate.
smily_headphones1.gif


However, the choices of music available from the NYPO seem to revolve around a few composers: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler (thank goodness!) for the most part. However, in Carnegie Hall l find that by subscribing to the International Orchestra series and the American Orchestra series you always get a great selection of less performed works -- Sibelius, Prokofief, Berg, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, Schubert, Dvorak (yes, hardly performed anymore!), Copland, Barber, and many contemporary composers. For some reason, orchestras that are reluctant to perform more "daring" works come to Carnegie Hall and can't wait to perform works that sometimes just skirt the edge of "fit to be heard." Of course, the Wiener Philharmoniker (which always hires some women locally to fill out a few seats in the string sections, and forestall controversy) is notoriously conservative. Even Mahler is played with great reluctance. When Gergiev is conducting, at least they play some of the Russians (Rimsky-Korsakov or Tchaikovsky).
 

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