I don’t reveal anything new by stating that there is a great
advantage in listening to music in a concert hall compared to a private
space. Take for example the last concert.
Elgar’s lyrical Serenade for String Orchestra is
playful and charming no matter where I hear it. But only in a concert
hall I am fully aware that there are only string instruments on stage!
(As the young would say: dah…) This visual conformation gives me an
Beethoven’s Symphony No.2, so rich in sound, is
surprisingly performed by a smaller orchestra than I usually associate
with his symphonies. I would not think about it unless I am in the hall.
Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello (which in the
past several weeks I happen to listen to while driving) is double
majestic when observing the soloists dialogs with each other and their
integration with the orchestra.
The combination of sound and vision: For me,it is a great
satisfaction indeed! I have to remind myself that most composers I know
took it for granted that the audience will be there.
Thinking about the visual elements of performing music, I am tempted
to say a few words about the conductor of the last two concerts:
Pinchas Zukerman. We all have our own impressions of conductors stage
present & mannerism and it is part & parcel of conductors
reputation. So, in addition to Zukerman’s great musical achievements,
I am impressed with a great deal of visual clues when he comes on
stage. I observe a direct and strong bond with the orchestra, total
lack of pretentiousness and friendly even casual eye contact with us,
the audience. His robust figure and smiling face combined with his
gentle, yet demanding hand gestures invoke in me time & again the
same image, as though he says: "I am here with you to make music, to
enjoy music. We are here because we all love it. But relax, don’t make
a big deal out of it. Making music is just like breathing…"
I must confess: as an Israeli, I detect these sentiments as typical.
You do your best, you thrive for excellency and you include everyone
around you. And when you reach the top you never boast. Pinchas
Zukerman, in this sense, is still (& will remain) an Israeli. You
must see it to get this point. For the love of live