Mitch Friedfeld wrote:
>I'd say its because the Shostakovich quartets are a tough sell. The
>audience for string quartets is probably smaller than for, say, symphonies.
>And a subset of this small audience likely prefers Haydn and Mozart to
I believe Shostakovich can be an easy sell...provided you market him
for what he is. Interestingly, I have been trying to do some analysis
relative to the attendance at our local chamber music center's concerts.
Mozart might have an edge over Haydn, but I have noticed that our best
attendance numbers come from having something unique to offer. It is
difficult to state this with authority as there are many factors which
influence these numbers...everything from venue, price, the weather,
etc. However, it seems that when we have offered something distinctive,
the local press would try to give us an advance in the paper. It seems
that the "hook" for a concert can be as important as the content...at
least as far as the press is concerned. There was an interesting article
recently where, as I recall, a NY Times reviewer said that with so many
concerts to attend, they are more likely to devote their attention to
some offerings that might be out of the ordinary.
Some years ago, a small University to the north of US, Southwestern,
offered a survey of the entire Shostakovich Quartets along with a
symposium devoted to the discussion of the works. They filled the house.
I am not suggesting that a program of the quartets by Ligeti,
Shostakovich and Cage would be preferred by most audiences, but I believe
that it might catch the attention of the press and stimulate some media
interest...keeping in mind the media seeks the lowest common denominator
and might not be interested at all in the fine arts.
Another thought from the recent past...last summer at our chamber
music festival, we got probably the best response from a superb string
quartet of young musicians doing the Dutilleux string quartet. They
gave a wonderful, brief, spoken introduction to the piece. The intensity
and love of the music they brought to their performance was obvious and,
I believe, helped to engage the audience in the performance.