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Re: Live performance versus recordings
Dieter - in principle I agree wholeheartedly with you. As any card carrying member of the British Musician's Union will tell you - their motto for many years has been "Keep Music Live". But - here's the conundrum; just this week I went to a Prom Concert in London. Very well played by the Oslo Philharmonic. But I paid £50+ for a tier seat on the side which meant that balances were completely askew - I now appreciate the tuba writing in Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.4 and Shostakovich Symphony No.12 more than ever before. The violins came across as weak (which they evidently are not) and the solo piano had a slightly glassly tone. And that's before you mention the "slap" effect of the bit orchestral tuttis hitting the back wall of the Royal Albert Hall and bouncing back.
Interpretively this was an impressive concert - an opinion reinforced by relistening via the BBC i-player but I have to say I'm not sure my money was well spent. I know the RAH is a flawed space acoustically but your comments rather pre-suppose having the best seat in the house. In which circumstance the experience can and indeed should be every bit as overwhelming as what you describe. When that is not possible thank goodness that so many fine contemporary and historical interpretations are available to us via recordings.
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