Sunday, February 15, 2009

Perhaps We're Seeing Progress

I don't know what's happening in other parts of the country, but in my neck of the midwestern woods concert attendance seems to be going up. Perhaps it is due to more aggressive promotion and marketing, the availability of classical music on the cable-waves (the Arts Channel, perhaps?) and on the internet, the musical discussions in the blog-o-sphere (look to your right for blogs I like to read), or perhaps it is due to people taking chances and going to a concert as a way to enjoy a night out. If the concert experience is a good one, those people might go to another concert. Whatever the cause, it is a cause for celebration.

What I would like to believe is that the "default" for listening to music has become more and more connected to a "device" or to an "object," and people, especially young adults, might be craving the real thing: music that comes out of people's mouths and hands in real time with the performers being in the same room as the audience. There is something special about the fact that music making will happen differently for you and the people who are in your particular audience from what will happen for tomorrow night's audience listening to the the same music in another city. In a world that is brimming with artifice, there is something truly refreshing about something that is real.

There was a time when some people considered flawless recorded performances superior to live performances. For the people who still feel that way, I can assure that the young soloists who are around today spend most of their time making sure that their live performances are as flawless as their recordings (or as flawless as anyone else's recordings). Recent conservatory graduates have an extremely high standard of flawlessness, and the "survival of the fittest" system of musical careers that we have today makes sure that the only people who rise to the top of the solo circuit are people who can deliver everything that is promised of them. It is good music business. And when someone gives an audience something more than flawlessness, it is a cause for celebration.

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