edwardsguitar wrote: It seems to me perhaps we have lost the ability to listen intently?
That has nothing to do with using a microphone or not.
I submit that both players and audiences have become lazy. I also submit that perhaps I am just an old curmudgeon.
or, rather, you're placing blame where blame does not belong.
This is a multi-layered and complex problem.
Actually, I take that back. It's about money.
The reason you couldn't hear Segovia is because the concert promoters were savvy enough to know that the "classical guitar craze" even of that small a magnitude would be short-lived and needed to be taken advantage of - they needed to strike while the iron was hot. So they put someone like Segovia in a hall that was too big for one reason and one reason only - to sell more tickets.
The reason why someone like Parkening would be mic'd is, once promoters exploited this gold mine, they were also savvy enough to know that the grumbles of audiences who "couldn't hear" in such large venues would soon turn into lower ticket sales, so rather than do something "musical" or "artistic" like use an appropriately designed venue, they would amplify the performer instead. That way, they could use even larger venues - and even improperly designed venues, and sell more tickets.
Promoters are also savvy enough to know that most people know nothing about music, and go to SEE an artist, not HEAR them. While this is less true in "artistically-based" genres like classical music (as opposed to pop for example) it it still true.
"mr. edwardsguitar", you can play in this acoustically perfect venue for 20 people, and we'll pay you $100, or you can play in the horrible sounding hall and use a microphone for 20,000 people and we'll pay you $7,200".
Which gig would you take? The "artist" might want to take the first gig - but what if you can share your art with a much larger audience - an audience that would also buy your recordings (more money) and as a noble cause, that would help to educate even more people about this style of music?
Many people might be able to put aside their artistic standards for those other benefits. And, your artistic standard of performance could still be at the same level. So it's not that bad of an all around deal.
We can teach them about sound quality once we get them into the fold - but we have to get them into the fold first - and we do that by giving them access to something they might not otherwise have access to or be aware of.
We might draw an analogy with Television. Every single person is not going to be listening on some super high quality sound system - many would just simply listen on the TV's simple, mono speaker. But wouldn't you rather see a classical guitarist on TV every night of the week than most of the junk that's on TV?
I'm sorry, but the HD quality of "naked alaskan swamp truckers" doesn't make the content any more culturally relevant.
I'd rather see a mediocre image and sound of a truly great artist every night on TV. That might get people to at least investigate culture rather then thinking Honey Boo Boo is something to aspire to.
If we can spread great art to more people, I say do it. MIc it.
With modern technology, we can actually do it very well. There, it's not an issue to me - it's a logistical need - and a cultural imperative.