Bernard Chasan wrote:
>Think of MTV and you think of videos. So what classical event would be
>video worthy? Opera and dance come to mind immediately, and opera is
>expensive, complex, an acquired taste.
Videos of classical performances can be extremely inspiring, even if it
is not ballet or opera. (In my case, *especially* if it is not.) Do we
go to a live symphony only to hear it? Or do we also want to see it?
I think seeing the faces of performers can be inspiring to young listeners,
who might be moved by the passion they see. It would help many of them
connect to classical music for the first time, I suspect.
There are now some fantastic DVD's of classical performances. True,
sometimes the sound is bad, as it is taken from performances from decades
ago. But sometimes it is pretty darned good. Sometimes the camera work
stinks, but sometimes it is fabulous. I have a DVD of Abbado leading
the Philharmoniker that knocks me out, it is so good in both respects.
To momentarily allude to previous threads, I think the new technology
of DVD's, as opposed to SACD's, could bring a revival of classical music
if these sorts of production values can bring the really great sound and
performances into our living rooms and classrooms. And now with the
hi-rez big screens, ... wow. Would I rather be at the symphony? Yes,
sometimes, when I want the big sound and feel (and when I want to put
up with emphysema and rude patrons). But when I go to the symphony,
they don't let me get on stage to wander amongst the rows of musicians.
Some DVD's do what no live performance can do - they let me watch the
minutest details and see the glint from the oboe's keys and the smallest
facial expressions of the players. Furthermore, they often alert my
short-attention-spanned self to (what someone feels is) the primary
musical focus at the moment. Do I want that always? No, sometimes I
just want to watch the timpanist, but it's a nice change and it can be
extremely educational. (Hmm, come to think of it, if I live long enough,
I might just be able to focus on the timps or the oboe on a future DVD.
Now THAT would be a great triumph of technology - to let an entire
symphony performance be scrutinized and studied from all perspectives.)
To bleed into yet another old thread, I can enjoy, on the other hand,
a performance on video even if the sound is awful. My favorite version
of Prokofiev's second sonata, for instance, is one by a relatively young
Sviatoslav Richter. I'm not sure if I would have liked this version as
much if it had not been for the video, which helped make me aware of the
great emotion of the playing. Now I compare all audio versions to this
one. Sometimes seeing is indeed the quicker route to believing, even
Videos may be the most powerful tool available to bring the new generations
into the world of classical music. My recommendation is not to dwell
on opera or ballet first or foremost, but just to get some good, powerful
performances of some compelling music to video. And then to somehow get
the kids' faces in front of them. (Better start with shorter pieces, I