main: November 2007 Archives
I'm a bit of a freak for historic recordings - recordings made roughly in the first half of the 20th century. What I find odd in today's music world is that while we earnestly try to come close to what we believe to be authentic performance practice in music of the 16th - 18th centuries (the so-called "historically informed performance," or HIP, movement), there seems only limited interest in getting close to the spirit that might have imbued performances of 19th- and early 20th-century repertoire. This despite the fact that in the case of that music, we actually have recorded evidence from performers who overlapped with the great composers of that era...
I've written before about the sense of formality in today's classical music concert world - a formality that sometimes borders on rigidity. No applause between movements is one of my favorite symbols for this problem, though the white tie and tails of orchestra musicians runs a close second. This ritual-like atmosphere, which to some degree can enhance a concert experience, can also, if overdone, make it a less-than-welcoming experience for those new to the music. That is especially true, I think, of younger people who have grown up in a society that has moved away from some of these rituals...
As someone who owns an indecent number of recordings (I've never actually counted, but I'd guess about 5,000 LPs and more than 20,000 CDs) I have often been enticed into discussions concerning the difference between live concerts and recorded music. Some severe fans of the latter claim a strong preference for the recorded form. At a concert, they say, you get distractions - audience members talking or jangling jewelry or ruffling through the printed program to be certain their name is spelled correctly in the donor listings. And you have the risk of (horror of horrors) a musical mistake! In the peace and quiet of your home, you can choose the music and the performance that you want to hear, and with today's technology the sound may even be better than that in a mediocre concert hall...
I teach a course at Roosevelt University's music school, in Chicago, called Orchestral Studies. The course came about because around five years ago I was having lunch with the superb dean of that school, Jim Gandré, and I mentioned my frustration about the fact that our music schools teach young musicians how to play their instruments, even how to audition, but for the most part teach them very little about how an orchestra actually works as an organization...
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog