Saturday, January 15, 2011

Live and Local, But Lovable

Tonight I went to see my local symphony, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra in Lancaster, PA. It brought to mind a few points to weigh in on the ongoing live and local vs. big and HD debate.
View from our box seats.

This month marked one year since the first time I saw the symphony here, and since then, I've seen many master works conducted by their internationally-known director, Stephen Gunzenhauser. However, what really draws me to the relatively small local symphony are the personal connections.

I love getting to the symphony and noticing, ah, Igor, the usual concert master, isn't here tonight...oh, but it's because his trio had a gig in Tulsa, I saw that on Facebook. (My trio played in a master class given by his in October.) Or seeing that a cellist you turned pages for at a recital is subbing tonight. (Who is an excellent musician and has a wardrobe that I'm infinitely jealous of.) You feel like you start to know the orchestra members, but are always intrigued when new musicians appear and get their chance to play.

I love seeing the gleam in the eye of a musician as he or she looks across to one of their colleagues, when you can tell that they're just plain having fun. It makes me smile, and brings me closer to the music.

I loved seeing the communication between Maestro Gunzehauser and Yuliya Gorenman, the soloist for Beethoven's 4th piano concerto. Up close and personal, seeing the music passed back and forth between orchestra and soloist.

Finally, I love the relationship of audience and orchestra that you don't get anywhere but at a live performance- what's the point of clapping at a live broadcast? At a live local concert, I can stand up and applaud, show my appreciation, and join with the rest of the crowd in asking for an encore. (We were rewarded with 2 from Ms. Gorenman tonight; the first movement of Beethoven's Waldstein sonata and then the Liszt arrangement of Schumann's Widmung.)

Now, I'm not saying that none of this can be found in a live broadcast of the world's top professional orchestras. I do plan on catching one of these broadcasts as soon as I can; the highly affordable price to see some of the world's best is hard to pass up. I'll post a comparison of the two as soon as I experience the other.

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