The first concert I ever attended, aged nine, included a performance of Holst's 'Planets' with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. The experience was extraordinary and totally immersive.
Over the following decades I regularly attended orchestral concerts. In mid-life I regret that circumstances combined to limit me to listening to LPs and cds at home. I became convinced that the pleasures to be obtained by hearing music performed by the world's greatest orchestras in good or great sound quality in my own sitting room was superior to hearing a Scottish orchestra in the concert hall. My experiences of live music were largely restricted to the Edinburgh Festival or to concerts in European cities whilst on holiday.
In more recent years I have returned to attending concerts and the experience has been-frequently-overwhelming. This does, I have to admit, apply particularly to the "big" orchestral or choral masterpieces. The Proms performance of Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony, for example, was simply sensational. The incredible impact was not just aural but visual. As the vast choruses rose just before the beginning of the last movement they were bathed in light. The spectacle was breathtaking and unforgettable.
Similarly with works like the Bruckner symphonies or Gurreleider or Sibelius's 'Kullervo' the electric atmosphere in the concert hall has often left me physically shaking with excitement and grinning broadly with pleasure.
And, yes, I think Paul Serotsky has a valid point. The communal experience does, I think, add to the experience. It is clearly what people enjoy at rock concerts or festivals and although the average audience at a concert of classical music is less likely to be quite so demonstrative or effusive whilst the music is actually being performed one can still often detect the enjoyment others are experiencing.
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