For the first time, perhaps ever, I experienced a musical catharsis while
assisting a live performance this afternoon. I should stipulate that I
completend my studies in piano performance and musicology at the oberlin
conservatory and have attended a multitude of performances both there
and in paris, london, new york, &c, &c... the world's "music capitals"
as they call them...
Needless to say, though I'm not yet as jaded a classical music concert
goer as the one who dares leave during the last movement of the final
piece, I've been around the musical block enough to know what to expect
from a live performance, having been an orchestral pianist myself. And
yet, this afternoon, something special happened...
What happened this afternoon was cathartic in the respect that something
happened that rarely happens these days. I managed to obtain last minute
box seats to a performance by the Russian National Orchestra at Lincoln
Center. I was moved to tears. While the program was nothing extra-ordinary
- Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini, Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme
of Paganini, & Glazunov's Symphony No. 6 - what transpired was an ignition
of the synapses reviving a lifelong passion for music making. This
afternoon I saw my favourite orchestra for the first time in a live
performance after 17 years of hunting and narrow missing. For the first
time I saw Mikhail Pletnev command this consortium of the world's finest
musicians, and I can assure you that each person in attendance left Avery
Fisher Hall feeling as I did; as though those musicians had performed
solely for every individual there. Rare are the orchestrae who possess
such a capacity. Never ave I been struck to the core as I was today.
The power to emote that these musicians possess is simply awe inspiring.
I am very familiar with good conductors. As I am an avid proponent
of 20th century music, and proudly nationalistic, I will, without
hesitation, claim Boulez to be the world's greatest living conductor.
I recently saw him perform Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin at Carnegie Hall
with the Chicago Symphony - the same orchestra with which he recorded
the same for DG. The Sound which Boulez can obtain from an orchestra
is astounding... His sound is precise, crisp, rich, and perfectly
balanced. However, as a pianist and musical soul, there is something I
shall perhaps never really ascertain. This is the Russian sensibility
for music making. What is it that they, the Russians know that we, the
French or whomever you may be, don't. My point ... I listend to Glazunov
and was enthralled... GLAZUNOV, and not even the Violin Concerto, but
the 6th Symphony!! What do the Russians know that they can even make
Also ... in conparison to Boulez's Chicago Symphony concert, there was
one thing that I did notice today. The AGE of the musicians. Pletnev
- who also happens to me my most co-respected pianist alongside Argerich
and co-respected conductor alongside Boulez - created this orchestra 17
years ago; a young age for a wrold reknowned orchestra. NEVER have I
counted so many young and energetic musicians in an orchestra as I did
today. The energy and enthusiasm with which these musicians performed
- perhaps for the Nth time - Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini was simply
amazing. The symbiotic relationship between musician, musician, and
conductor was never before seen!
I may perhaps come across as overly enthused by this Sunday afternoon
performance, and if I do, it's in part because Pletnev is my favourite
pianist and the RNO is my favourite orchestra. However, while nursing
my drink at intermission, I couldn't help but count the blue haired
ladies in attendance while pondering the future of classical music.
Who's going to pay for these people's season subscriptions once they
pass on?? The concert going pupulation is aging, rapidly, and so are
the orchestras who are catering to them. The classical music world is
in dire need of youth, energy, and emotional rebirth. Who is going to
provide this, and when? When are people going to wake up and demande
this sound; this cathartically tight, rich sound?
The first - which I've been asking myself my entire life - What do the
Russians know that we don't?
the second - When is the classical music world going to wake up and start
catering to a new and younger audience (emotionally)? (Also, when are
we going to stop hearing the same boring Beethoven and Mozart season in,
PS - I hardly consider the VAPID Hilary Hahns, Lang Langs, and Yundi
Li's the recipients of the beacon of the Classical Music torch to pass
on to future afficionadi...
[log in to unmask]
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned
LISTSERV(R) list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail
High Deliverability Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery.
For more information, go to: