sigh, we do all want to be cooler, always! but sometimes...

*what a lovely picture!


so johnny greenwood of very successful venture, radiohead, resident composer for the bbc concert orchestra recently pointed out 10 things he would change in a classical concert format.  and i thought in most of cases, his proposed changes are not met because well, most of classical music does not have the support hat johnny or the bbc concert orchestra (one of my fav ensembles) have access to.  and certain things, though the public may demand it, is not very helpful- such as access to technology during the show.


anyway, we all live in a different world and i do think it's quite nice that someone who could be influential takes a stand. this is how things evolve. however, on certain points, i cannot help but to think... BUT...  so here they are.  happy friday!

1. free applaud for between-movements:
i agree. IF THAT WOULD REALLY KILL THE PROGRAM (tchaikovsky 6th, the transition between 3rd to 4th movement, for instance), it would not be so hard to have a small announcement along with cellphone warning at the beginning of the concert, or print it on the program.

2.  tuning backstage:
i think it's not possible, unless the backstage is HUGE and quiet... just a practical issue for ensemble that big. where are you going to put everyone so that everyone can actually hear that tiny A made by the oboe?

3. allowance for mobile phones in silent mode:
silent and LOW LIGHT. that blinking screens are such a bother. you should only do it if it does not distract anyone else.  for recording, i donno- all im saying is everyone has off-days and it's slightly unkind to have those footages on the web for free broadcast.  and there's TOO MUCH records of everyone doing everything anyway. bit like collecting children's artworks (i think).

4. program should be less predictable:
programs- well, it's nice to pace things out with bit of variations. spelling the 'surprise' would be nice for all concert goers for various reasons (bladder, babysitter, traffic, wheelchairs etc)... yeah, small surprise (within 5 min) but not all shows have the tech support/audience support that radiohead/bbc concert orch have access to.  when we hit that old age, making it to the bathroom IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT for various reasons, including public dignity.

5. take your drinkies:
ONLY IF THE HALL allows it.  would you like to sit on comfortable (reasonably so) padded chairs with arm rest if it had beer spill on it from last night?  how are we going to keep the carpets clean? (some venues, you are expected to stand and socialize and spill things, ex. any venues that has 'standing floor.' some venues not).  i work at a reasonably small hall and i tell you, cleaning up after the audience is kinda gross already anyhow (wrappers, half-drunk coffees, food items stuck on chairs).  would i ever sit on the floor or the lee's palace? PROBABLY NOT.

6. artist should engage, including meet-after-concert as mandatory stuff:
I CANNOT IMAGINE JOHNNY MEETING EVERYONE AFTER EVERY CONCERT. and the talk- well, let's say not everyone will be so eloquent and helpful. im a big fan of printed short notes.  may be we as the group can organize more events where the audience can meet the group, but to have it as their 'right' is bit sketchy.  the three radiohead shows i went, they had heavier security than any classical concerts. backstage access much?

7. no tail suits:
tail suits and all blacks are actually a very practical option. unless the large ensembles will invest in huge selection of rentals for freelancers.  better looking suits dont grow on trees and most ensembles are already under financial duress.  and whats wrong about having a different set of aesthetics? some people enjoy the concerts because it is different from their daily lives. and yes, something does change when one dresses in certain style. i dont think tail suits are such a bad idea. i personally think wearing damned sweatpants and workout suits to any public place should be banned unless you are sweating. if it looks like it can be a pajama, wear it in private space. a simple test: would you present your best impression of the day in that? if answer is yes, proceed.

8. more family friendly:
families: this, i agree. and some ensembles are venturing out of their zone and IF IT WORKS, im sure it will spread, because, well, all musicians always want more audience.

9. more technology in concerts:
once again, it's a budget issue mostly.  for download during performance,  only if your tech device does not provide a distraction to another. ever sit beside someone who's texting away in a movie? annoying.  AND WHAT WE CANT LIVE WITHOUT TIED TO THE PHONES FOR 1.5 HRS? IN MIDDLE OF LIVE EVENT?  i think the hall should have a signal disrupter so that people actually do something else beside being tied to a phone.  but then i think of this very often in all kinds of places... about close-up televising, well, once again, i know we live in a visual culture but i dont think it is necessary that one can see anything at any given time.  this is the choice that performers should make, in consideration to budgets etc.  one CAN go to a classical concert in major towns paying under 30 dollars a head. most big gigs, you are paying starting about 70-90 bucks. that's hella difference in budget.

10. all prog to have one contemp piece:
i agree. but i say it must work with the rest of the program. some all-contemp progs rock. some no-contemp progs rocks. most of oldies-and-newbies would work very well.

now, to get off one's bum and go practice on friday morning. yawn...
love to all!

1 comment:

  1. There's no doubt that Johnny's a very clever chap indeed, but there you gently but convincingly unwrapped his noble dreams and left them under seat H26. There may be things we can do to open out the concert experience, but we haven't found anything yet that overturns the old formula. I think it's an experience that happens in a quiet, focused environment to be at its best. freedom to look at your phone is a freedom too far. We do well for audiences, given the media-rich hurricane of stimulation that people have become used to; there's still hunger for a simple meal of music served on a clean, white plate.