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Live performance versus recordings
Posted by dieter barkhoff on September 2, 2017, 2:02 am
On Thursday evening I attended a performance of the Bruckner 7th Symphony. The conductor was Andrew Davis, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Hamer Hall.
The performance was full of enlightening nuances - attributable no doubt to Davis' near hour long verbal elaboration of the work in the first half - but what stunned me was the magnificent amplitude of sound, especially from the deep-throated Brass. Also staggering was the passion displayed by the strings - all of them, violins, violas, celli and Bass - especially at the conclusions of each movement - they went out with a bang, not a whimper. In other words, this was an engrossing and super-visceral experience.
I own 47 recordings of this work - yes, 47, exorbitant you may think, but it's nothing compared to 4 and 8, 64 and 62 respectively - and yesterday played three of my favourite recordings - the Sanderling with the SWR Orchestra, the Wand with the Berlin Phil. and the Munich Celibidache. I have reasonably good sound equipment to play music, albeit the constrictions imposed not only by my wife and daughter's musical sensibilities, or lack thereof, but by the sheer facts of practicality - in other words, playing Bruckner full bore while cooking dinner is probably rude and uncivilised.
I then used good Sennheiser ear phones and report that I am now deeply disappointed by the difference between what comes out of a speaker compared to the sheer magnificence of attending the real thing. Till the echoes of my experience on Thursday night fade I'm afraid listening to my recordings will be a letdown.
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