Tag Archives: We take for granted how hard it is to make an orchestra an ensemble. orchestra and chorus sound good all playing together.

concert musings

 

 

I attended a concert yesterday evening by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall. The program consisted of several works by Beethoven that are not often performed:

 

Leonore Overture No. 2

Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage), Op. 112

Choral Fantasy in C Minor

Mass in C Major

 

The following are some notes to myself I jotted down during the performance, which was outstanding.

 

 

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We take for granted how hard it is to make an orchestra, an ensemble. orchestra and chorus, sound good all playing together.

When listening to recorded music, we hear harmonies.

Tone color.

Rhythm.

But absent in a large part is the “noise factor.” Vibration. The percussive effect of timpani and (to the full extent) piano. Brass. Voices. Voice quality.

Pure sound.

How music’s melodies and harmonies enchant, at this moment and always. But, at the same time, vibration — sound shaking the hall, so to speak — affects the listener with an immediacy only a live performance can convey.

Pieces I know well sound new and fresh when I hear them performed live for the first time.

The trumpet player in his perch at the very rear of the balcony in the Allegro Vivace of the Leonore Overture No 2. There is a pause by the orchestra. So unexpected, the trumpet. So dramatic.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   March 6, 2020