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Thread: Pre/Post concert talks

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    Senior Member pianississimo's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
    Bradford, UK
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    Default Pre/Post concert talks

    I'm used to seeing them advertised at UK concerts. Do they have them everywhere else? Do you go?

    I like to go to them if I can. They vary a lot, but there's always something new to learn.
    I think the best ones examine the works and detail parts which you might not have heard properly before.
    A recent one I heard was about Saint Seans's Organ Symphony and the different ways he worked in the Dies Irae theme into the work. The man giving the talk was an expert but also a musical geek- he took obvious delight in finding interesting obscure detail in the scores of well known works and telling people about them.

    I loved another recent pre-concert talk which was with the leader of the St Petersburg Philharmonic. They were discussing Shostakovich and his relationship with the orchestra. This musician had some interesting insights into what it meant to play in such a famous and historically significant orchestra and take these works around the world which were actually written with them in mind.

    He was asked why it was that Russian orchestras played Shostakovich better than anyone else. He put it down to two things. One was the genetic memory of the players whose parents and grandparents had lived through the times which inspired and informed Shostakovich's works. The other, he said, was the different approach that a Russian musician had to playing than say a German. He said it was like cars. A German car is a piece of genius engineering. A Mercedes works perfectly every time. A Russian car on the other hand, may not always work as you intended it to. It's more unpredictable. That was his analysis of the glorious and enigmatic sound that the StPPO produced.

    I think these experiences are not like anything you get in the programme and they add to the occasion and experience.

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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Our local Baroque mob do concerts with "live programme notes where the musicologist and broadcaster Simon Heighes comments on the pieces and sets the scene by discussing the historical context. He occasionally joins in e.g. on wind machine, to provide special effects. Very entertaining!
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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