Bigger is better ..

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slofstra
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Bigger is better ..

Post by slofstra » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:57 am

I had just watched the recent Berlin Philharmonic concert at the Waldbuehne, online, when I read the article "smaller is better". Surely, this concert and the enthusiastic, almost rhapsodic, response of the 20,000+ in attendance proves that the very opposite can also be true.

It strikes me that a concert hall of one or two thousand is going to be much easier to fill when you have recently excited an audience of 10 times that size in an outdoor venue. And at least in Berlin, a large audience is not only highly attentive, but gets very excited, when a classical music performance is carried off with aplomb. I'm not sure why more symphony orchestras don't do this on a regular basis. The TSO had an annual outdoor concert at one time, and so did our local symphony, but the practice in both cases has fallen out of favour.

https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concert/22416

jbuck919
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:34 pm

I live next door to Saratoga, and the answer is clear. Outdoor performances cannot be done acoustically. It's as simple as that.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

slofstra
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by slofstra » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:35 pm

jbuck919 wrote:I live next door to Saratoga, and the answer is clear. Outdoor performances cannot be done acoustically. It's as simple as that.
If "acoustically" means with good audio quality, that is simply wrong. The BPO outdoor concert is simple evidence of that; you don't receive standing ovations with bad audio. In most cases it's just a question of proper miking and amplification, and excellent audio can be the result. I'm not sure what the problem is at Saratoga.

jbuck919
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:49 pm

slofstra wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:I live next door to Saratoga, and the answer is clear. Outdoor performances cannot be done acoustically. It's as simple as that.
If "acoustically" means with good audio quality, that is simply wrong. The BPO outdoor concert is simple evidence of that; you don't receive standing ovations with bad audio. In most cases it's just a question of proper miking and amplification, and excellent audio can be the result. I'm not sure what the problem is at Saratoga.
t

I am perfectly aware that modern miking is excellent. And you are aware that the standard of performance for classical music depends on un-miked surroundings. Otherwise they would not not be going through the latest attempt to modify what is now called David Geffen Hall.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

ratsrcute
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by ratsrcute » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:50 am

slofstra wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:I live next door to Saratoga, and the answer is clear. Outdoor performances cannot be done acoustically. It's as simple as that.
If "acoustically" means with good audio quality, that is simply wrong. The BPO outdoor concert is simple evidence of that; you don't receive standing ovations with bad audio. In most cases it's just a question of proper miking and amplification, and excellent audio can be the result. I'm not sure what the problem is at Saratoga.
You don't receive standing ovations with bad audio? Speaking of audience reaction in general, I have not noticed any consistent rule about what excites audiences. Maybe they are noticing some general "energy" coming from the musicians. Even with bad audio the rise and fall of the sound is noticeable. The overall timing is noticeable and conveys something.

Personally I need more than that.

good audio cables, K Works Empowered Cord: http://brilliantzenaudio.com

jbuck919
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:17 am

ratsrcute wrote:
slofstra wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:I live next door to Saratoga, and the answer is clear. Outdoor performances cannot be done acoustically. It's as simple as that.
If "acoustically" means with good audio quality, that is simply wrong. The BPO outdoor concert is simple evidence of that; you don't receive standing ovations with bad audio. In most cases it's just a question of proper miking and amplification, and excellent audio can be the result. I'm not sure what the problem is at Saratoga.
You don't receive standing ovations with bad audio? Speaking of audience reaction in general, I have not noticed any consistent rule about what excites audiences. Maybe they are noticing some general "energy" coming from the musicians. Even with bad audio the rise and fall of the sound is noticeable. The overall timing is noticeable and conveys something.

Personally I need more than that.
Standing ovations have become routine among provincial or tourist audiences. Knowledgeable people reserve them only for the most extraordinary performances, which never take place with the assistance of electronic enhancement. I cannot tell whether we are agreeing or not because of the first sentence in your post.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

ratsrcute
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by ratsrcute » Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:14 am

jbuck919 wrote:
ratsrcute wrote:
slofstra wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:I live next door to Saratoga, and the answer is clear. Outdoor performances cannot be done acoustically. It's as simple as that.
If "acoustically" means with good audio quality, that is simply wrong. The BPO outdoor concert is simple evidence of that; you don't receive standing ovations with bad audio. In most cases it's just a question of proper miking and amplification, and excellent audio can be the result. I'm not sure what the problem is at Saratoga.
You don't receive standing ovations with bad audio? Speaking of audience reaction in general, I have not noticed any consistent rule about what excites audiences. Maybe they are noticing some general "energy" coming from the musicians. Even with bad audio the rise and fall of the sound is noticeable. The overall timing is noticeable and conveys something.

Personally I need more than that.
Standing ovations have become routine among provincial or tourist audiences. Knowledgeable people reserve them only for the most extraordinary performances, which never take place with the assistance of electronic enhancement. I cannot tell whether we are agreeing or not because of the first sentence in your post.
We're agreeing. That first sentence had a question mark, that was the question I was addressing. You have a more specific point which seems relevant. I was just making a very general observation, that audiences get very excited over a range of things (or perhaps over nothing).

good audio cables, K Works Empowered Cord: http://brilliantzenaudio.com

John F
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by John F » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:43 am

jbuck says, "extraordinary performances ... never take place with the assistance of electronic enhancement." Meaning classical music, of course; all performances of popular music, rock music, and these days of Broadway musicals are amplified, and those who attend them may find them extraordinary though I don't. But it ain't necessarily so for classical music either. In the last few seasons, New York City Opera performed in a hall, then the New York State Theater, whose acoustics had been subjected to elaborate and expensive electronic enhancement, and not all of their performances were ordinary. Many in the audience didn't particularly like it, sepending on where they sat, but it was done.

What he means, I believe, is that such performances of classical music don't take place with the assistance of microphones, amplifiers, and speakers. That's normally true, but I've seen a couple of exceptions. Back in the 1960s when my family was living in England, we went to a couple of concerts by the Philomusica of London chamber orchestra led from the harpsichord by Thurston Dart, whose elaborate continuo realizations were a feature then, though they've since gone out of style. Though both concerts were in halls, he had his harpsichord amplified, with a small speaker under it, so the audience could hear his playing through the strings. I was only 15 or 16 then, what did I know?, but I really liked those concerts, and when I had the money I loaded up on Dart's Oiseau-Lyre recordings and still enjoy them.

I don't generally go to outdoor performances, and not all of them are amplified. But I see no reason why none of them can have been extraordinary. In the summer before we landed in England, we "did" Europe, and one night we saw "Barber of Seville" in the Arena di Verona with an excellent cast led by Cesare Valletti, Virginia Zeani, and Ettore Bastianini. It was not amplified, and the publicity for the Arena boasts of its remarkable acoustics, but while we could hear the singers very well, in our seats at the far end of the Arena, but the sound of the orchestra went up in the air and reached us very faintly. For all we knew, it may have been an outstanding performance, even extraordinary, but we couldn't really tell because of the orchestra's acoustics.
John Francis

slofstra
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by slofstra » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:41 am

jbuck919 wrote:
slofstra wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:I live next door to Saratoga, and the answer is clear. Outdoor performances cannot be done acoustically. It's as simple as that.
If "acoustically" means with good audio quality, that is simply wrong. The BPO outdoor concert is simple evidence of that; you don't receive standing ovations with bad audio. In most cases it's just a question of proper miking and amplification, and excellent audio can be the result. I'm not sure what the problem is at Saratoga.
t

I am perfectly aware that modern miking is excellent. And you are aware that the standard of performance for classical music depends on un-miked surroundings. Otherwise they would not not be going through the latest attempt to modify what is now called David Geffen Hall.
Indoors, of course. Note that I switched the topic from acoustics to audio. Outdoor acoustics will be problematic especially to an outdoor audience. But it seems to me the height of absurdity to insist on live performance without electronic augmentation when we all listen to classical music that way - through a stereo and speakers.
If that can be enjoyable, then it should be as enjoyable outdoors with greatly superior equipment.
Further, if an audience enjoys such performances, and that helps keep classical music alive in the public consciousness, shouldn't we endorse such endeavours on that basis alone.

jbuck919
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:17 am

I did not wish to give the impression that I have not enjoyed miked performances at Saratoga, Wolf Trap, etc., or that I am not aware of acoustic outdoor performances, The Sunday concerts of the West Point Band at Trophy Point were entirely acoustic.

Once I accompanied a middle school class to Meyerhoff Hall in Baltimore. I had to explasn to the kids that the hanging microphones were for recording purposes only, and that every note they heard in that acoustically excellent auditorium was produced without artificial amplifications.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

slofstra
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by slofstra » Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:05 am

jbuck919 wrote:I did not wish to give the impression that I have not enjoyed miked performances at Saratoga, Wolf Trap, etc., or that I am not aware of acoustic outdoor performances, The Sunday concerts of the West Point Band at Trophy Point were entirely acoustic.

Once I accompanied a middle school class to Meyerhoff Hall in Baltimore. I had to explasn to the kids that the hanging microphones were for recording purposes only, and that every note they heard in that acoustically excellent auditorium was produced without artificial amplifications.
I'll certainly go along with you, John, on the idea that the absolute superlative in sonic delight is a live orchestra playing in a superb acoustically excellent facility. We're blessed with having such a facility in our city, Kitchener, Ontario, because the city fathers of the day involved the maestro of the orchestra in its design. (And I know from personal experience it affords a much better listening experience than Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.)

Still, I was quite excited to see the reception to the BPO in Berlin at this particular outdoor venue. We, the community of classical music afficiandos, seem at times to be in decline and also getting older. At other times I feel we have to reach the new 40 and 50 year olds that will be the future mainstays of the classical music audience, and outdoor venues are an excellent way to accomplish this, I think.

A few random snapshots of the 2016 Berlin Philharmonic concert in the Waldbuehne:

Image

Image

Image

John F
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Re: Bigger is better ..

Post by John F » Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:27 am

I suppose the equivalent here for the Waldbühne would be the Hollywood Bowl.
John Francis

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