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Welshsox
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Chicago Symphony

Ive just purchased a mixed season pass to the CSO, this covers everything from piano peices, violin, brass and full orchestral, 14 concerts in all between Sept and June 2009

Would it be of interest to post thoughts on each night as the season goes on for discussion or would it get boring and presumptuous very quickly ?

Let me know what you think, dont worry about being direct im very thick skinned !!

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Is the Pope Catholic??? Hell yes, we want your thoughts. You'll be listening to one of the very best orchestras in the world. I think they've had the best brass section in the world for almost 60 years and the rest of the orchestra isn't shabby, all performing in one of the best halls in the world.

Anyone that doesn't want to read about that shouldn't be here, IMHO.

Dave

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Sounds like great fun. Your first concert review was a hoot.

linden518
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Re: Chicago Symphony

I still think it's hard-core how Chicago courted Muti better than NY Phil. Way to go, CSO.

Welshsox
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Re: Chicago Symphony

So who is this Muti guy ?

Getting tickets for verdis requiem with him involved was a major deal, I got the last ticket available for any of the three nights. Is the guy that good ? how does he rank in the world ?

Another ignorant question, but does the conductor make a lot of dfference ?

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Well, he's a prima donna. You can google or wiki him & you'll probably get a good picture of him. He's best known for his stint with La Scala. (I'm sure his Verdi was fantastic, btw.) He's a great conductor, though, even if the range of his repertoire is conservative & limited.

Yes. Conductors matter.

Elk
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Re: Chicago Symphony

Conductors matter a great deal. They control tempi, phrasing, articulation, dynamics - essentially everything in the performance. This is one of the things that makes classical music so fascinating. The notes on the page are just the beginning. How those notes are interpreted is the performance.

A great way to understand this is to buy and listen to two recordings of the same music which has been performed differently. Let us know if you would like suggestions of two good, but contrasting, performances of the same piece.

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Elk

OK, i can understand what your saying.

So on that front, is the orchestra more important or the conductor ?

I read up on Muti and apparently he was not that well liked in Philadelphia because he changed the Orchestra's sound.

Ill be watching a wide range of stuff over the next twelve months, it will be interesting to see if the differences between conductors are perceptible or not.

Ive acquired at least 8 different versions of pictures on vinyl and CD, they all sound different. I was putting this down to the orchestra, i might have been mistaken and maybe should have looked at the conductor.

Its just so hard to visualize someone who is not actually playing having so much effect.

On a seperate note, I was looking for a guide to soloist's ? ie best ten concert violinists, pianists etc. I realise such a list would be hugely subjective but it would be a good starting point.

Thanks
Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Do you have any CSO recordings when Solti was the conductor? I know the diff between live now and the "recorded then", but your perspective on the differences would be interesting.

Go Cubs!!!!! fan since 1952 and waiting.

You should have a great time. Don't let your analysis get in the way of your enjoyment.

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Re: Chicago Symphony


Quote:
So on that front, is the orchestra more important or the conductor?


It depends on what side of the podium one is on. As a player I like to think the orchestra is more important.

Sometimes it feels like the orchestra v. the conductor. These experiences are miserable.

They are both critical. You need the best players who are used to playing together. They need to work together as a high-performance sports car, but with the added ability to operate from everything from a unicycle to a bulldozer.

The conductor works with the orchestra as an individual plays his instrument. The conductor plays the orchestra.

The conductor also has a great deal to say as to how many violins there are going to be, how the balance between the number of 'cellos to violas, etc. He may prefer a bright nimble sound, or a darker burnished sound.

It is not an Athenian democracy, the conductor rules - although many are willing to privately listen if you have a particular thought you would like to share. Generally however it is the orchestra's job to express the musical ideas of the conductor.

There are many conductors that make you want to create for them exactly what they desire. It's actually incredibly satisfying to play a piece that you know and hear it afresh because the conductor has an approach you have not heard or experienced before.

I struggle with recommending the best of any genre. there are so many great players out there. I will give you one however: I adore Hilary Hahn's playing; tremendous musical intelligence, great knowledge of the history of violin performance, great ears and absolutely charming as a person.

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Elk

Thanks

By dumb ass luck I saw a violin player Vadim Repin at my first concert, he absolutely blew me away. As a result ive picked on a couple of CSO concerts with known soloists, one being Anne Sophie Mutter and the other being Hilary Hahn. This was also backed up by a recording I have of last night of the Proms in london from I believe 1999/2000 where Hilary was playing solo at age 19, she explained how she was fortunate to have been taught by the greats and even at 19 you could see her maturity and love of the violin.

On a seperate note, I might be totally ignorant on this front but it seems to me that the CSO is a pretty well known and respected group, a guy like Muti coming in and being a prima donna is just not the Chicago style and maybe a rocky path lies ahead. Of course im totally new to this so i might be totally out of line.
Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Vadim Repin is wonderful. Nice to have such high quality dumb luck.

The CSO will do great. Muti is a star and there will be a lot of wonderful playing. There is always some controversy when an orchestra gets a new conductor - usually it works out, although there have been some huge flops.

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Muti may have controversies here & there, but he's a great conductor. It's a real score for CSO so don't even worry about it, dude. Enjoy your season tix, I'm very very jealous!

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Re: Chicago Symphony

For a great example of the 'Muti effect' you might like to check out the 1993 New Year's Concert from Vienna (Philips 438 493-2).

Watching the concert has always been a tradition in my family, we all gather round the TV nursing our hangovers, and through the years one becomes very accustomed to how the old Strauss standards sound under resident maestros Boskovsky, Maazel et al.

Well I will never forget this concert, Muti's first appearance (he subsequently also conducted in 1997, 2000 and 2004), which was absolutely electifying. Sure, the VPO is one of the finest symphony orchestras in the world and can churn out these familiar anthems in their sleep, but they didn't, no way no how! They were WIDE awake and played with a quite uncommon verve. The ovation was one of the most rapturous and heartfelt I can remember.

Wonderful music making and a superb example of how a conductor can put his fingerprint (in a very positive way) on a familar score.

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Great stuff Struts.

Dave

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Re: Chicago Symphony


Quote:

On a seperate note, I might be totally ignorant on this front but it seems to me that the CSO is a pretty well known and respected group, a guy like Muti coming in and being a prima donna is just not the Chicago style and maybe a rocky path lies ahead. Of course im totally new to this so i might be totally out of line.
Alan

Don't worry, they've had their prima donnas in the past. You might say that the whole brass section was prima donna for decades. Reiner was no limp fish, nor Solti. You might say that Reiner really shaped the current sound.

This is a great organization and it will survive and continue to be strong.

You've got a good shot at wittnessing the beginning of a new era of excellence. I think that all the cards are well chosen and on the table. Let's hope that the hand is well played.

Dave

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Very insightful, thanks! You've given an explanation even a dummy like me can understand! I've often wondered about the role of the conductor. While I have no musical training, I know what I like to listen to. I find it interesting that a piece of music can sound different when played by different groups. For instance, one of my favorite pieces is Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland. I have 3 different recordings of it & have heard it performed live by the local orchestra(Rochester Philharmonic). All sound somewhat different. I'm not talking about sound quality either.I suppose that is in part due to different players as well as different conductors. Not being musically trained, I don't have the vocabulary to describe the differences. Just something about the way it's played. Anyway, thanks again!!

Welshsox
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Re: Chicago Symphony

Its opening night tonight

Finlandia, lang lang playing Chopin and Pictures at an Exhibition !!

Ive been looking forward to this for weeks, im really really excited about Great gates of Kiev !! I hope it lives up to my expectations.

Report tommorrow after the concert, a few beers and going to Soldier field to watch the Bears kick some ass.

Im from the UK as im sure youve gathered, but living in the US particularly Chicago is an unbelivable experience and im sure a lot of people dont realise they are lucky enough to live in the greatest country there is !!!

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Oh man, that Chicago brass will not dissappoint on the Gates...I've got goose bumps thinking about it.

Can't wait for your report.

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Hi

Sorry took a while to recover from a Saturday night out in Chicago.

This was opening gala night and the level of formality was striking. It was very interesting to see that although I was only dressed business casual nobody seemed to care, i was seated in the lower balcony which are prime sets and surrounded by incredibly well dressed and what appeared to be genuinely affluent people yet never felt in the least bit intimidated or out of place. It would be interesting to put a few of these people into the middle of an iron maiden concert and see what happens !!! It really does seem as if the love of music transcends cultural boundaries.

Three peices played,

1 - Finlandia, nice but really just to get everyone interested.

2 - Chopin Piano concerto 2 played by Lang Lang, this guy is extremely talented and obviously passionate about his music. The peice was played superbly but im afraid it left me a little flat, it wasnt the playing or the abilities it was the peice, it just did not stir anything.

3 - Pictures, of course this was the highlight for me. From the first note to the last this was an incredible exeperience. The aspect of teh performance that excited me the most was surprisingly not the major aspects of the peice. What seemed really different and exciting was the layers and textures of music, im really starting to understand that the acoustics of the hall are just so important. I could clearly hear the layers of different instruments, particularly you could almost feel the woodwind sections, I believe it was oboe ( could well be wrong ) but sound of the air around the instrument was just uncanny. Another major thing was incredible variations on each instrument in terms of sound, as im so familair with the peice it was really obvious how each instrument could be made loud/quiet at the whim of the obviously talented operator.

Of course the whole thing leads up to the gates, I dont care what anyone else thinks this has to be one of the top peices of music ever written in any musical format or style. The use of the various drums was incredible, the brass section was unbelievable but the unexpected highlight was a small asian girl on a stool striking what i can only decscribe as a tubular bell type instrument, this sounded amazing and just topped off the whole thing.

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Thanks for the great report Alan. You scare me when you type "teh" for "the", making me think that you may be an alternative personality of DUP, then I think "no way, this guy seems so sane."

Anyway, next time you listen to Gates on a stereo, listen for that bell. I'm always amazed to hear all the brass roaring and the percussion banging and when that bell comes though it adds to the chills. Amazing.

You're probably more of a Rachmaninoff guy than a Chopin guy. Hang in there.

Dave

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Dave

For some reason i always type teh !!! i cant help it. I try not to do it.

Really strange that i just went to type " teh " into the keyboard and typed "the " correctly !!!

Must admit i would like to be distanced from the individual mentioned !! not so much because of what he says but the fact his world is so closed and finite, I would find that soul destroying.

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Wonderful description and observations! It is a hoot attending the concerts along with you.

Finlandia has always struck me as an overblown throwaway.

Lang Lang is a great fun, regardless of what he plays - but I appreciate and understand your comments. I think Dave is correct - you either like Chopin or not.

Classical music goers are typically quite laid back - as long as you don't talk during the performance. I have always found amusing that rock types are often less open minded.

Your descriptions of layering sounds and "air" are dead on. For me flute and oboe do indeed surround the best players with a halo of energized air. It is the only way I can describe it.

If only our systems could reproduce the detailed subtlety and power of an orchestra. Then again, a good part of me hopes they never can.

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Chopin's concertos don't represent his strongest writing. The guy clearly had a problem writing orchestral tutti sections. They are very uninspired in orchestration, almost placid. The Larghetto of the 2nd concerto is beautiful, for sure, but I know that you like a bit of flash in the orchestral sections, Alan, so I totally understand that the Chopin 2nd is not your cup of tea. I second Dave's recommendation for Rachmaninoff concertos, given your preference for dense & sweeping orchestral sound.

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Re: Chicago Symphony

Hi

Im definetly appreciating a wider range of music as i go along. I cant help but think of the different classical music styles in relation to what I know and as such Chopin would be foofoo starbucks jazz !! theres nothing wrong with it as such it just does not stir up emotion.

Im also seeing that certain instruments are a lot more powerful than you might think, the violin particularly seems to fight well above its weight.

Sunday its a full session of pictures, the first half is a talk on how it all developed and the second half is another full performance. This should be educational and fun !!

The next new stuff is 10 days away, thats Anne Sophie Mutter doing several Bach violin peices im just not sure about what to expect so i will go with an open mind and find out !!

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony


Quote:
and as such Chopin would be foofoo starbucks jazz !! theres nothing wrong with it as such it just does not stir up emotion.


Definitely not how I'd categorize Chopin. He modernized & revolutionized modern piano repertoire as we know it. Try his solo stuff. Since you like music with a little speed & gusto, maybe the scherzi & the polonaises. I like Richter with the scherzi and Pollini on the polonaises. The Ballades, you can try later, when you think you've developed a liking for the more introspective repertoire (although the Ballades definitely do have the epic sweep... I like Zimerman here, although Perahia is eloquent, too...) One of my favorite piano pieces ever is the Barcarolle (Lipatti & Zimerman).

Have fun at the Anne Sophie Mutter concert! Should be a dandy.

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Re: Chicago Symphony - Latest report

Hi

Sunday I had the pleasure of watching a performance of Pictures from an exhibition in a format called Beyond the Score. Apparemtly the real title is from an exhibition and not at an exhibition.

This was absolutely brilliant, given my love of the peice to begin with. The whole concept was a narrative of the peice for approx an hour given by three main components, 1 - A piano player, 2 - Narrative actors, 3 - The full CSO. After the narrative a full performance was given.

The narrative started at the beginning with the Victor Hartmann exhibition on which Mussorgsky based the original piano peice, it then moved on to demonstrate the techniques used by Ravel to orchestrate the peice. Listening to the different stories relating to each movement was very special, i did not realise for instance that the Hut of Baba Yaga represented death and the Great gates represented life. Another example being that Gnomes was based on a childrens toy. The musical clips of how Ravel went from a piano to the different sections of the orchestra were very revealing and showed how complex this type of music really is.

The whole thing of providing story and substance to the music reinforced by belief that classical music has many many layers and components and you can spend your life just scratching the surface.

Now if only Smoke on the Water had such meanings !!!

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony - Latest report

Hmm, very interesting. Thanks for the new view.

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Re: Chicago Symphony - Latest report

Neat report!

Many pieces have a fascinating background; the themes used, the influences on the composer, etc.

Ravel was an astoundingly good orchestrator. His ability to create tone colors is unsurpassed.

Did they explain that the walking promenade varies in meter in each variation? It appears five times, each version mixing 5/4 with other metres, sometimes regular and sometimes irregular. This is to represent the walker, the artist Victor Hartmann, for whom the piece was written. He had a bad leg and thus limped. He died young and the movements are representations of some of his works and sketches.

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Chicago Symphony - New report

Hi

Another visit.

This was see Anne Sophie Mutter.

First of, she is definetly one of the hottest people ive seen !! very elegant and attractive !!

Anyways back to the music, this was chamber music. There is not a pretty way to say this, i was bored stupid !!

The playing was absolutely beautiful and you can see and hear how talented Anne Sophie was with a violin, the problem was the material just did nothing for me.

When i saw Vadim Repin he attacked the instrument played with incredible energy and power. Anne Sophie played in a very soft delicate style. No doubt each artist is incredibly talented but the different styles are miles apart, Repin was a Deep Purple violin and Mutter was a Krall violin. The thing being of course that im a purple type of guy.

The other major thing for me was that the sound seemed to be lost in the theater, when its a full orchestra even with just Repin playing it seemed to fill the whole space, Mutter was sort of there but not filling the space, almost like you were looking for the sound and had to find it.

Im still glad i went, it definetly means any chamber music is way of base for me !!

Next up is a night of Russian orchestral stuff, that should put me back on track !!

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Yes, chamber music must be heard in a smaller space to show at it's best potential. Unfortunately when a big name comes they put them in the big room almost invariably, whether or not it serves the music. Chamber music in the right venue can be very emotional and gripping.

Dave

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

I really enjoy your reviews.

I just checked the program. It was nice stuff, but extremely safe and basic repertoire - disappointingly so. These are warhorses that every violinist plays and has recorded. I love chamber music, but unless she brought something truly unique to these pieces I could very well be twitchy.

Chamber music as a whole appeals more to the intellect than to the emotions. Emotions are expressed, but more subtly. Often to really appreciate what a performer is doing takes having good knowledge of the piece already.

Dave raises a good point. Chamber music is sort of like a jazz trio, much better when performed in an intimate setting.

Looking at the calendar there are a couple of different programs of Russina music. Are you going to the performance including the Rachmaninov third symphony?

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Elk

Yes it is the Rachmaninov 3rd symphony, am i in for trouble or a treat ??

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

My guess is that you will like it. Big, soaring melodies, vibrant, understandable structure.

It isn't like Pictures with all its effects and other fun, but rather rich and romantic. That is, it won't knock you over, but I think you will enjoy the ride.

10:1 you recognize some of the melodies. A lot of popular music is based on classical pieces.

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Hi

Well ive been busy lately.

Saw AC/DC couple of weeks ago, that was OK. PA was initially painfully bad but they sorted it out after a few songs. Angus Young looks about 65 but hes still bouncing around like a teenager.

Then last week I saw the Australian Pink Floyd act, these guys are amazing. Ive seen the real Floyd several times and there is not a lot of difference.

This put me firmly back in the rock concert mode, so i was then looking forwards to watching the symphony again last night, the music was Russian with Racmaninov no 3 and Tchaikovsky,'s piano no 1.

The Racmaninov was very good, Elk was right in that even though id never heard the peice a lot of it sounded very familiar. What i did notice though is that since i saw the narrative about Pictures and what each peice means im now starting to attach more emotion to the music. By that its almost as if im empathising with the music's message even though i dont actually know what it is. ie im starting to fell happy, sad etc based on the flow of the music, im sure my observations are very simple for a music person but it was a new feeling for me.

The second peice being the Tchaikovsky was a revalation, ive listened to this peice a good amount at home but was absolutely blown away by how dynamic and emotive the music was live. I dont think ive ever come across a peice of music that sounds so different live. At home it is a nice but uninvolving peice, last night I seemed to be hanging on every note, the piano playing was extraordinary with such range and focus. The whole thing just seemed to flow and jump out at me, i was paying attention almost like listening to something at work where your scared of missing a key peice of technical info.

For some reason if i listen to violin or piano on their own they dont do much for me, ie listening to Mutter last time left me absolutely flat. If i hear the same things though as a solo sound against a back drop of a full orchestra they become very powerful.

In terms of the sound i really did make a physical connection to it, i dont know if it was just my mood but each note i could sense the air around it, feel the particular instruments harmonics etc.

Overall then a very enjoyable concert, it is becoming very clear that large scale orchestral stuff is my thing, throw in a good soloist and im all set !!!

My next concert is next week and is Mahler 2, this introduces vocals for the first time and im looking forward to how that changes the landscape

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Thanks for another great post Alan.

Maybe you need to crank your home stereo more. You can't replicate the dynamics of live performance, but I think you need to get closer than you are. When I listen to classical with a lot of dynamic range, the peaks are up over 100 dB. I find that if that doesn't happen, then the music seems flatter and less involving.

Dave

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Dave

My problem is that i live in a townhouse, not sure how the neighbours would react !!

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Your reviews/reports are always a great deal of fun!


Quote:
What i did notice though is that since i saw the narrative about Pictures and what each peice means im now starting to attach more emotion to the music. By that its almost as if im empathising with the music's message even though i dont actually know what it is. ie im starting to fell happy, sad etc based on the flow of the music,


I bet it is like learning to understand and appreciate any new thing. You are now getting the musical language of a symphony orchestra.

Those that market orchestras state that getting people to return is not all that hard. Getting them in for the first time is the challenge.


Quote:
I dont think ive ever come across a peice of music that sounds so different live.

...

In terms of the sound i really did make a physical connection to it, i dont know if it was just my mood but each note i could sense the air around it, feel the particular instruments harmonics etc.

My experience as well. At least for me, even the best sound system simply hints at the experience of hearing a symphony live. There is a certain effortlessness and richness that electronics cannot capture.

I also think that seeing the musicians and knowing it really is being performed live makes a difference.

P.S. Mahler tends to be a love him or leave him sort of composer. I think you will like his music, but it is dense and can be a bit of a challenge to get into initially. It will be fun to get your report.

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report


Quote:
My next concert is next week and is Mahler 2, this introduces vocals for the first time and im looking forward to how that changes the landscape


Alan, Mahler is definitely an acquired taste, but the 2nd symphony is sublime once you develop a sense for Mahlerian music. You WILL get dynamism, I'll tell you that, but you'll also have to have a kind of listening stamina to appreciate Mahler, whose ambition for his symphonies was nothing less than to musically capture the largesse of life itself, as corny as that may sound.

It may be worth reading something on this symphony before you go, you know, make it a kind of a fun assignment for yourself. Perhaps listen to a recording of it in your system, too. There's a version conducted by Ivan Fischer on Channel Classics hybrid SACD that is excellent, both interpretation-wise and sound-wise. I believe the Mahler 2nd will be much more enjoyble with some context... a very different animal than the Tchaikovsy 1st piano concerto or a Rachmaninoff symphony... I wonder how the Chicago will deal with the off-stage brass... you can give us a report!

Also, who was the soloist for the Tchaikovsky?

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report


Quote:
Dave

My problem is that i live in a townhouse, not sure how the neighbours would react !!

I live in an apartment, but with only one ajoining wall. (I'm on the end.) I do my "serious", loud listening in the afternoons and certainly never turn up after 10 p.m. I also play trumpet. My neighbors surely hear me, because the sometimes comment (encouragingly) about my trumpeting. Still, you must be sensitive.

You might consider some top tier headphones and a good headphone amp. Cans give you most of the experience, but lack the pants flapping, pounding on your chest of a good speaker system.

You might try "pre-warning" the neighbors by saying, "I'm going to try listening to some symphonic music tomorrow afternoon and hope it doesn't disturb you. Let me know if I get too intrusive." Keep the average levels around 85dB and let the peaks fall where they may to see what happens.

Dave

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Hi

The soloist was Simon Trpceski, he seemed very good but ive no idea on his reputation. I enjoyed him a lot more than Lang Lang but im not really sure if it was him or the music.

Ive just listened to Mahler's 2nd for the first time and it certainly cant be classed as Starbucks jazz !! thats some pretty deep shit !!

Im going to listen to it a couple more times this week, ive just got a feeling that everyone is right and this is a love/hate thing.

Alan

linden518
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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Trpceski is a great, promising young pianist & I'd rather hear him over Lang Lang ANY day. Boy, you're going to some choice concerts over there, Alan. Not bad for your 1st season run of live classical music!

I think it's great that you're acclimating yourself to the Mahler 2nd before actually going. Sometimes, I put on my AKG701s, turn off the light to listen to the Mahler 2, and let my attention wander in & out... but I never fail to be moved by the end, the tone of the offstage trumpets somehow blending into the figures of the onstage flutes, the chorus with the plaintive soprano voice breaking free, and yes, even the church bell thing (I HATE the use of church bells in any music; what a heavy-handed musical metaphor!)... they all make me feel a bit more alive than before the listening. Don't feel obligated to remain riveted to what's playing... just let it kind of push you around here & there, and before you know it, you'll find out that you're already halfway up the ladder. Just enjoy the climb.

Elk
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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report


Quote:
Ive just listened to Mahler's 2nd for the first time and it certainly cant be classed as Starbucks jazz !! thats some pretty deep shit !!


You nailed it!

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Hi

Well i went last night for my first Mahler experience !!

Ive never exeprienced anything like it, I stated last report report that i was beginning to feel an emotional attachement and involvement with the music well with this stuff i felt like i was a 5 year old listening to Einstein talking about relativity !! The whole perforamnce was so technically and emotionally beyond most of the other works ive heard it was incredible.

The level of energy and effort from the orchestra was significantly higher than ive seen to date, its like on Sibileus or Chopin they can just cruise along but with Mahler they were being challanged at every stage.

The flow of the music between a single flute to 100 + musicians and 200 singers going full bore is amazing, the way that Mahler balances this out and as stated earlier the music just pushes you around at will is awesome, there are numerous climatic moments in the peice but the ending absolutely blew me away, it literally brought tears to me eyes.

The conductor was Haitlink and for a guy of 80 he was in absolute control and had the orchestra at full attention, im not sure how they did the offstage sound but two trumpet players and 4 ( french horn i think ) players did disappear for a while, the haunting background with the flute and then the singing was amazing.

Ive never seen a chorus before, after watchng this im now absolutely positive that i need to see Verdis Requiem.

I dont know anything about Mahler but from his music its clear the guy was a genius, the level of detail and compositon that i heard last night made my favourite peice pictures almost seem like pop music.

I dont want to appear like a know it all guys, i really do appreciate that im just beginning on whats is going to be a fantastic journey, its just that i never imagined that there was such genius and emotion in classical music. Discovering these composers is unbelievable, im getting amazing performances it seems almost every time and just want to avoid sounding arrogant about it. Im extremely lucky to have discovered that such a wonderful thing as the symphony exists on my doorstep.

There are huge amounts of people who will never set foot into symphony hall , these people are missing out on something amazing.

Next up is more russian stuff, the journey continues.

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Alan, you have a gift for stating in a simple, direct way the power of good music.

I get to reconnect with why I find classical music so satisfying by reading your posts. It isn't about all the little technical things. It's the emotional expression.

The dynamic power and range you describe is the source of an old comparison: that a symphony orchestra at full tilt can make Grand Funk Railroad sound like the Tooterville Trolley.

linden518
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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Elk stole the words right out of my mouth. I love reading your journey as you discover such great music with fresh ears and mind, and openness of heart. The way you just described your experience of listening to the Mahler 2nd, with the flute leading into the soaring voices, is just spot on. If you felt the beauty of the piece, of the moment right there, you totally got it.

BTW: you're getting REALLY spoiled over there in Chicago! The 1st ever Mahler concert you went to was at the helms of Bernard Haitink!?!!

*EDIT* - as if to prove my point:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/chi-haitink-ovn-1122nov22,0,3331073.story

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Thanks

The CSO was just voted best in US and 5th best in the world by the respected Gramaphone magazine in the UK. Another reason why Chicago has to be the greatest city on the planet !! The White Sox, Bears and the CSO.

I was thinking that having such a great introduction could be a bad thing, with rock music i thought i gained a solid foundation. Then i realised that my introduction to rock music would have young rock fans of today salivating, I was watching bands like Iron Maiden, Saxon and others develop from the start and seeing them in their glory years.

The other saving grace is that i can see my musical taste developing, im only just scratching the surface, the world of classical music is vast.

Alan

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

The orchestra rankings are in my opinion rather silly. Maybe this is sour grapes coming from me (since I live in Cleveland--#7 on the list and #2 in the USA), but I have heard many of these orchestras live, and all of them in taped-for-broadcast performances. They all have their good days and their less-good days (and occasionally even their bad days!). Their relative ranking also depends on what they playing, under which conductor. Just imagine Mahler 2 under Haitink played by the Maryinsky Theater Orchestra with its blatty brass section, versus the same piece played by Vienna or Berlin (and yes, or Cleveland!) under Haitink.

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Great report and thanks for sharing. Your observation of how hard the orchestra works on Mahler is dead on accurate.

Don't worry too much about voter rankings. Chicago is surely one of the best in the world, no matter how you cut and no matter who's voting. The performances will vary with all orchestras depending on the composer, the conductor and the players' feelings about both.

Many voters in those poles prefer a different sound, particularly in the brass, to what we in the USA tend to gravitate towards. I love the brash Yankee sound, which Chicago epitomizes. I think it's ideally suited to Mahler.

I'm glad you're enjoying this so much and sharing with the rest of us.

Dave

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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report


Quote:

Ive never seen a chorus before, after watchng this im now absolutely positive that i need to see Verdis Requiem.

the Verdi Requiem is quite amazing. Ive sung in it twice, hope I get to do it many more times.

a bit off topic,

but if you want an amazing example of what 16 bit audio can do, do yourself a favor and grab the "EMI CLASSICS" DVD production (Verdi Requiem). Exquisitely recorded, amazing soloists....perfection!

http://www.amazon.com/Verdi-Gheorghiu-Barcellona-Konstantinov-Philharmonic/dp/B000066C6K

linden518
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Re: Chicago Symphony - New report

Agreed on the DVD! I actually recommended this very DVD to Alan a few posts back so he could watch it before he attended the concert.

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