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CLASSICAL  April 2008

CLASSICAL April 2008

Subject:

Re: Live vs. Recorded

From:

James Tobin <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 25 Apr 2008 15:43:32 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (40 lines)

Last Saturday, at an "Overture Live" talk before a performance of The
Planets (on Edo de Waart's first weekend as the Milwaukee Symphony's
Music Director Designate), the assistant director of the symphony's
chorus reported an encounter he had the previous evening.  After
the concert he was approached by someone who said that, although he
had been listening to recordings for a number of years, he had actually
never attended a live symphony concert and the experience of hearing
close to a hundred musicians in a live concert had left him positively
shaken.  He had had no idea what he had been missing.

Really good concert, by the way.  In addition to a very fine Planets,
de Waart conducted Strauss' very early Serenade, for 13 Winds (including
one optional double bass here), and Strauss' very late Metamorphosen,
for 23 strings.  These in place of a work by Argento which had originally
been programmed, for a different conductor.  I had wanted to hear the
Argento and when I asked about the substitution it was suggested that
de Waart wanted to expose the abilities of the wind and string sections
(which are considerable, I'd like to say.) As it happens, I was extremely
happy with the performance of the Metamorphosen, finding it outstanding
in the subtle changes in dynamics these forces achieved.  I have previously
had difficulty getting into that work, which could not be more different
from other works by its composer, featuring long legato lines in
counterpoint with other long flowing lines.  Adding to my satisfaction
in the dynamic control was a contrast with the distressing performances
of a couple of visiting conductors in the last year or two, who let the
orchestra play full out, with little restraint or subtlety.  Thus I found
this performance most reassuring in light of de Waart's recent appointment.
The players are reportedly quite happy with him too.  He will be successor
to Andreas Delfs, who is moving on after his eleventh season next year,
and who at Milwaukee developed into an extremely fine conductor (not
that he wasn't excellent before); he also is reportedly much liked by
the players.

Jim Tobin

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