Gilbert asks: I’ve to say, listening to you describe these performances makes me miss the grandeur of a live performance corridor, form of in the identical means I miss the largeness of a film display. Part of experiencing artwork exterior my house is the potential to be overwhelmed, and as many audio system as I may need, or as huge as my TV may be, it clearly doesn’t really feel the identical. I’ve solely began to go to see dwell classical music in earnest previously three or 4 years. You’ve been doing it for for much longer, and I’ve to think about the longing is deeper.
You not too long ago wrote a beautiful piece, “Notes Toward Reinventing the American Orchestra,” which is stuffed with sensible strategies for a way classical music organizations may change post-pandemic. What don’t you need to change?
Tony solutions: Ah, what I don’t need to change in classical music, what’s going to by no means change, I’m satisfied, is the sheer sensual pleasure, ecstasy even, of being immersed within the sound of a fantastic orchestra, a effective string quartet, a radiant soprano. And to expertise that you have to expertise this artwork type dwell.
As a child, I first received to know numerous items by means of recordings. And through the pandemic it usually appears like recordings are all we have now. But rising up, what lastly hooked me on classical music was listening to the pianist Rudolf Serkin and the New York Philharmonic underneath Bernstein at Carnegie Hall in Beethoven’s mighty “Emperor” Concerto; and having a standing-room ticket as a younger teenager to listen to the celebrated soprano Renata Tebaldi, along with her luxurious voice, as Desdemona in Verdi’s “Otello” on the Metropolitan Opera; or, somewhat later, listening to Leontyne Price’s gentle, sustained excessive notes in “Aida” soar upward and encompass me in a balcony seat on the Met. I solely vaguely knew what these operas have been about. I didn’t care.
And what I’m saying goes for extra intimate music, too. Only while you hear a terrific string quartet performing works by Haydn, Shostakovich or Bartok in a corridor that seats only a few hundred do you actually perceive what makes “chamber music” so overwhelming. But it makes an enormous distinction to listen to a symphony, whether or not by Mozart or Messiaen, in a vigorous, inviting live performance corridor.
Gilbert asks: You’ve confirmed this to me a number of instances over the previous three years — I’m pondering of the time you took me to listen to “The Rite of Spring” at Carnegie Hall and I walked out gobsmacked. (I do know, such a rookie.) Or the time I discovered my eyes welling up on the finish of Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville, Summer of 1915” at David Geffen Hall. I simply don’t assume I’d have felt those self same feelings listening to these items at dwelling.