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Musical Discussions
Topic: Expectations in the concert hall?

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Posted by rowuk on 09-07-2019
A couple of days ago, I attended a concert with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra conducted by Herbert Blomstedt. They played Death and Transfiguration by Richard Strauss and Beethoven Eroica Symphony.

These young adults (17-26 years old) played with abandon and at a very professional level. Blomstedts readings are always wonderful. Still one movement of the Beethoven movements was more "boring" than the whole rest of the concert, still enjoyable, but not "reference quality". On the trip home, I mused if this had been the Berlin Philharmonic, would a boring movement have spoiled the whole evening? I have walked out of concerts before as I expect world class from well paid world class musicians. Was I in fact more tolerant with this youth orchestra? What if I only had 2 recordings of each of these events?

I cannot say for sure, but I do believe that I react to the music first, regardless. "Non worthy" (in my view) draws attention immediately and triggers further thoughts - depending on the event, not necessarily immediately.

At home, it is not similar. Here I have other options if a performance is not up to snuff - replace the source with a more "worthy" one.

Posted by Paul S on 09-08-2019
Let's face it, the best paid orchestras too often avoid mistakes, and they don't really give themselves over to the Music ensemble often enough, IMO.  Also it seems there are not so many conductors at any time who can really get the most from an orchestra, and - perhaps - some of the "most professional" orchestras are most capable of stonewalling conductors. Is this too much to say?  Some years ago I recalled here at GSC a performance by a local opera company of Orpheus In The Underworld that had enough effort and blind faith to keep me very involved, even singing along, as I drove home from a family gathering. And for something substantially more complicated, I also reported here on a volunteer chamber orchestra and choir from DDR performing a "small scale" version of Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem. While not the best version I've ever heard it's among the best, and largely, I think, because they stuck their necks out; they "went for it".

Paul S

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