Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
mcg
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Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by mcg » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:24 pm

Now please don't bite my head off, but I have recently found myself wondering if classical performers could do more to make their 'shows' more interesting.

The paradigm of audience walking in, artist(s) playing set repertoire, audience applauding, audience walking out etc seems somewhat arcane. How about shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music? How about collaboration with other artists (actors? visual artists? film makers? photographers?) to create something more dimensional than a straightforward classical music recital?
Last edited by mcg on Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

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David Norton
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by David Norton » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:17 am

Here's an .... interesting? .... presentation of a work by Luis Narvaez, "Y la mi cinta dorada". Not sure WHAT is going on, but it sure isn't "traditional!"







And here's a modern dance setting of Mudarra's "Fantasia X", danced by Ana Yepes to the playing of her father, Narciso.




(Yeah, I'm kind of in my Spanish renaissance phase again...)
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mcg
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by mcg » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:12 am

It seems the first link is not working, but the second link is a great example of what I am talking about. That is an atmospheric setting and adds a dimension to an already beautiful piece of music.

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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:24 am

mcg wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:24 pm
Now please don't bite my head off, but I have recently found myself wondering if classical performers could do more to make their 'shows' more interesting.

The paradigm of audience walking in, artist(s) playing set repertoire, audience applauding, audience walking out etc seems somewhat arcane. How about shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overly the music? How about collaboration with other artists (actors? visual artists? film makers? photographers?) to create something more dimensional than a straightforward classical music recital?
I won't "bite" your head off, but I do wonder this: "more interesting" to whom? To those with limited attention spans? To those who don't like classical music? To those who don't like solo recitals?

I have nothing against the kind of "show" you are describing, and I have attended performances of classical music which incorporated many of these elements, and I have enjoyed them. But, I also greatly enjoy a straightforward classical recital, in fact, much more so than a multi-media spectacle, which to me, detracts from the music, and is more "theatre" than music. After such "shows", I find myself wishing that there had been more music and less of all the other stuff -- it is ultimately a less satisfying experience for me, since my main interest is the music.

Also, I think it is rather important to note that the performances I've attended of these multi-dimensional extravaganzas have been filled, as far as I can tell, with pretty much the exact same audience members who attend those "arcane" recitals -- the season's ticket holders and general classical music enthusiasts (of course, I don't know them all personally, but the venues are small enough, and I go often enough, that one gets a good idea of who's there).

I suppose what comes to my mind whenever this subject comes up (you are not the first person to make a suggestion like this around here), I want them to think about asking something similar of a rock or pop band: Hey, how about turning down the volume at your concerts, maybe play all acoustic instruments, and why not include some classical music in your programme, to attract all those people who don't like straightforward rock concerts...".

There's music for everyone out there, including what you describe -- so enjoy what you like, but please don't expect everyone to change to suit your tastes, because what about all of us who prefer something quite different?

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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Smudger5150 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:31 pm

Personally I think there is scope in between these 2 extremes to vary things. Even little things like more introductions about the music or suites of music they're about to play. Some do this, I know, but I suspect many just get up and expect the audience to follow the programme and accept it.

I'm sure there will be musicians out there who might play with the format a little. And they'll have to adjust accordingly depending on the feedback from the audience and where their muse leads them.
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Julian Ward
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Julian Ward » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:05 pm

There is some great footage of David Russell interacting with the audience and making them laugh and generally being silly sometimes. I watched Craig Ogden recently and he isn't amongst the world's best players but he relayed some great stories and was a brilliant 'talker'. He was also pretty funny. Those things are important I think. It helps break the ice and stops it all seeming so pompous.
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Adrian Allan » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:47 pm

Julian Ward wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:05 pm
There is some great footage of David Russell interacting with the audience and making them laugh and generally being silly sometimes. I watched Craig Ogden recently and he isn't amongst the world's best players but he relayed some great stories and was a brilliant 'talker'. He was also pretty funny. Those things are important I think. It helps break the ice and stops it all seeming so pompous.
That's an interesting take on Mr Ogden.

He's done pretty well for himself, and IMO he's in a different league from Milos, or whatever his name is.
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Adrian Allan » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:57 pm

Just to get back to the last post, I suppose I am biased as he taught me for a few years on and off.

I think that guitarists are, when put in a room together, obsessed about pure technique, etc - like pure clean playing. I know you mentioned Simon Dinnigan on other threads as an example of such.

Yes, he was better in that sense, but I think that Mr Ogden's experience in ensemble playing and wider musical experience got him the gigs, whereas pure technique can only get you so far - and it is only a tiny minority of classical guitarists who can spot such things, in any case.

Anyway, back to the thread topic.
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Julian Ward
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Julian Ward » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:11 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:57 pm
Just to get back to the last post, I suppose I am biased as he taught me for a few years on and off.

I think that guitarists are, when put in a room together, obsessed about pure technique, etc - like pure clean playing. I know you mentioned Simon Dinnigan on other threads as an example of such.

Yes, he was better in that sense, but I think that Mr Ogden's experience in ensemble playing and wider musical experience got him the gigs, whereas pure technique can only get you so far - and it is only a tiny minority of classical guitarists who can spot such things, in any case.

Anyway, back to the thread topic.
Yes he certainly has done well for himself. And I do know what you mean. He was a very interesting guy and as I said he was fun to watch as he was so personable. In contrast, as you mentioned him, Dinnigan barely said a word!
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Adrian Allan » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:35 pm

Yes

And agreed that, having all the advanced technique at your disposal, the artist does need to reach out to his/ her audience, and having a personality and stage persona helps.

However, even with all of those things at your disposal, I think anybody would struggle to make anything approaching a living as a classical guitar performer.

Back to the original post, I think that new approaches can be made, but I still suspect it will be to no avail.

I don't know about other nations, but the last UK guitar recital that I went to I can only describe as a sea of grey hair in the audience (predictably nearly all male), which does not bode well at all.
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Julian Ward
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Julian Ward » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:59 pm

Who wants to watch a classical guitarist? In a world of 'wham bam...Alexa change the song...play something else...show me a video of a dog giving birth to an eight foot alligator....'

I am most surprised at this forum of classical guitarists where nobody is really interested in any of the guitar music performed by its members. If we don't even take an interest in each other then what hope is there? Lol!
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mcg
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by mcg » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:27 pm

I won't "bite" your head off,
Gosh, that's not biting my head off??
more interesting" to whom?
People with broader taste than you.
I have nothing against the kind of "show" you are describing,
You do know that you directly contradict yourself by going on to say exactly what you have against them?

I sense your distaste for the word 'shows'. I know several professional classical musicians who always say show when they are talking about a concert. I seem to have picked it up. I rather like the word because it implies giving something exciting to the audience, and is somehow more dynamic than 'recital' or 'concert'.
Also, I think it is rather important to note that the performances I've attended of these multi-dimensional extravaganzas have been filled
Your distaste shines out of your caustic use of 'multi-dimensional extravaganzas'. However you do say you have been to such performances. How many? Out of interest what were they? What did they consist of? If it's too hard to list them all, just the last 5 will do.

In Australia, sadly we have few classical events that deviate from the prescription of recital/concert. The only significant exception in recent years that I can think of was the collaboration between Richard Charlton with the Sydney Guitar Trio and Rory O'Donoghue (the actor). (I think they collaborated over many years.) I saw their show in Sydney some years back before it went to the Adelaide Festival. The intertwining of spoken word with original music composed with the Alice in Wonderland narrative was powerful and sublime, a breath of fresh air. Also great was the Banjo Patterson derived music/narrative. No wonder it got such audience and critical acclaim. Still, it wouldn't have been your cup-of-tea.
I suppose what comes to my mind whenever this subject comes up (you are not the first person to make a suggestion like this around here), I want them to think about asking something similar of a rock or pop band: Hey, how about turning down the volume at your concerts, maybe play all acoustic instruments, and why not include some classical music in your programme, to attract all those people who don't like straightforward rock concerts...".
I have no idea what point you are trying to make here.
but please don't expect everyone to change to suit your tastes, because what about all of us who prefer something quite different?
I am certainly not making everyone change to suit my tastes!! How would that even be possible? I'm not Stalin or Mao! I do however wish that classical musicians could be more imaginative and collaborative with other art forms.
Last edited by mcg on Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:15 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by pogmoor » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:49 pm

Julian Ward wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:05 pm
There is some great footage of David Russell interacting with the audience and making them laugh and generally being silly sometimes. I watched Craig Ogden recently and he isn't amongst the world's best players but he relayed some great stories and was a brilliant 'talker'. He was also pretty funny. Those things are important I think. It helps break the ice and stops it all seeming so pompous.
Yes, I saw Craig Ogden in Oxford on Friday; in fact he's always had quite a lot to say whenever I've seen him. The Oxford audience evidently appreciated it as he got quite a few laughs - even for his explanation of how he files his nails! As for David Russell I've always found his words very entertaining - he seems at his best when he's got an audience of guitar players.
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mcg
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by mcg » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:46 am

Back to the original post, I think that new approaches can be made, but I still suspect it will be to no avail.
That's a bit depressing! 50 years ago Glenn Gould pronounced that the concert hall was dead. He wasn't wrong was he?

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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:09 am

mcg: you presented an idea in such a way as to solicit opinions about it, and I gave you mine, but clearly you just wanted like-minded people to agree with you.

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