Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

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

Post by Tom Poore » Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:20 pm

Since Lovemyguitar has been dismissed for offering what seems to me a reasonable opinion, I’ll pick up the baton.

Some of what’s being suggested here strikes me as odd. For example, it’s been suggested that solo guitar recitals would be more interesting if they included singing. But isn’t that missing the point of a solo recital? That’s like saying a horse race would be more interesting if it included a cheetah. Well maybe it would to some, but then it’s no longer a horse race. And if horse race aficionados complained about the cheetah, would they be branded as close-minded?

There’s a compelling drama and purity to the solo recital. One person, one instrument. Can the artist hold the audience? Many can’t. It’s a rare artist who, alone, can create magic. When an artist fails to do so, it’s a failure of that artist, not the concept of a solo recital.

The solo recital is a unique thing. Encumbered with bells and whistles, it becomes something else. That’s not a knock against something else. Something else is fine—if something else is what you like, then enjoy it. But what’s the point of criticizing a thing because it’s not what it was never intended to be?

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

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Julian Ward
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Julian Ward » Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:02 pm

Playing guitar and singing at the same time is not difficult at all, and is something I do a huge amount of in weddings. (I am talking about playing arpeggio accompaniments over any combination of chords all over the guitar neck, not just strumming chords) It is, however, very difficult to play a standard classical piece and talk at the same time - THAT really is a challenge!

I totally agree with Tom above - we want to listen to solo performers, playing solo guitar brilliantly without anything else!
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Smudger5150 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:32 am

Well to be pedantic, I don't believe the OP mentioned 'solo' recitals as such, just concerts/recitals in general.
So yes, I agree that if we go to a 'solo recital', one would expect that we would want to see a solo recital with the playing unencumbered by other 'distractions'.
And in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with one preferring that format. No one should be (or should have been) belittled for expression a preference for the tried and tested formula.

But on the other hand, there's no harm in playing with the format. As long as the audience is not mis-sold on what they're going to get!
I mean there are a number of guitarists like Sharon Isbin, Ben Verdery, David Tanenbaum who have done collaborations and things a bit differently on occasion. Then let's not forget JW who kind of lead the way in the suggestion that Lovemyguitar made.
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mcg
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by mcg » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:40 pm

Since Lovemyguitar has been dismissed for offering what seems to me a reasonable opinion,
Nothing against Lovemyguitar's opinion to be honest, it was rather the contemptuous nature of the reply.
it’s been suggested that solo guitar recitals would be more interesting if they included singing.
?? I think you've drawn a false syllogism there. What I expressed first of all was an opinion that I would like to see more variation in the world of classical music from (what I see) as the pretty staid format of concert/recital. There have been various suggestions and examples.

Anyway, if, as you plainly do, enjoy solo recitals, then I have respect for that and your view. We can have a discussion and so on. However, it's when I/you rubbish my/your view, thatwe probably start to have a problem!

Since this thread started a friend and musical partner of mine has commenced producing her own show 'Songs my Students Taught Me'. (Obviously this is a play on Dvorak's Songs My Mother Taught Me.) The show will incorporate, not just songs, but also narrative reflective of the bond between teacher and student, the gifts they bring each other, recollections etc. A pianist and a(nother) soprano/cellist (there's an unusual combination) are accompanying.

Some people are not going to be 'into' the sort of thing described above. For me, however, it's exactly the sort of thing that I am getting at and exactly the sort of thing that I find more imaginative and dimensional than a straightforward recital.

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lucy
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by lucy » Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:36 pm

Tom Poore wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:20 pm
Some of what’s being suggested here strikes me as odd. For example, it’s been suggested that solo guitar recitals would be more interesting if they included singing. But isn’t that missing the point of a solo recital? That’s like saying a horse race would be more interesting if it included a cheetah. Well maybe it would to some, but then it’s no longer a horse race. And if horse race aficionados complained about the cheetah, would they be branded as close-minded?

There’s a compelling drama and purity to the solo recital. One person, one instrument. Can the artist hold the audience? Many can’t. It’s a rare artist who, alone, can create magic. When an artist fails to do so, it’s a failure of that artist, not the concept of a solo recital.

The solo recital is a unique thing. Encumbered with bells and whistles, it becomes something else. That’s not a knock against something else. Something else is fine—if something else is what you like, then enjoy it. But what’s the point of criticizing a thing because it’s not what it was never intended to be?

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA
I think it was me who first raised singing.

I also said there would always be a place for the formal solo recital.

I wasn't suggesting that it's a necessarily a good idea to mix the two.

What I said was that for some audiences, a bit of singing goes down very well and in fact, brings the classical guitar to people who probably wouldn't have even known it existed.

I don't like the inference that people who engage in a bit of singing, or something else perhaps, do so, because they can't hold the attention of an audience with the guitar alone.

When I last played a solo guitar recital (no singing!) in Romsey Abbey, someone commented afterwards the audience were extremely quiet. I replied, I know, I didn't hear a sound. I played the footage back to later, and I can honestly say, that there wasn't a single significant noise from an audience of 80-100 people, in 45 minutes.

I want to point out I didn't say that to big myself up, I want people to understand that I didn't start experimenting with singing, because I'm unable to hold an audience with a solo guitar.

I see it as taking an imaginative approach to musical performance.

I don't think it's good that so many people seem to live in a CG bubble. I think we need to reach out to the wider world, when we can.
"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.
By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world."
Robert Louis Stevenson

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Tom Poore
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Tom Poore » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:40 pm

I’ve attended recitals and concerts for over four decades. The “new ideas” proposed here have been done. Musicians have collaborated with other artists since before any of us were born. Collaborative performances haven’t swept aside the traditional recital. So obviously it still appeals to some.

This isn’t an either/or dilemma. In my neck of the woods, for example, one could hear the Cleveland Orchestra accompany a wide screen projection of Bugs Bunny cartoons. Such things are always on tap for all who want them.

Traditional recitals will never be as popular as more mainstream events like rock concerts or football games. So be it. There’s a unique charm to intimate events that draw small audiences of like-minded enthusiasts. Why should they be trampled under by the bedlam of the bored?

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

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Julian Ward
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Julian Ward » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:54 pm

lucy wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:36 pm
Tom Poore wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:20 pm
Some of what’s being suggested here strikes me as odd. For example, it’s been suggested that solo guitar recitals would be more interesting if they included singing. But isn’t that missing the point of a solo recital? That’s like saying a horse race would be more interesting if it included a cheetah. Well maybe it would to some, but then it’s no longer a horse race. And if horse race aficionados complained about the cheetah, would they be branded as close-minded?

There’s a compelling drama and purity to the solo recital. One person, one instrument. Can the artist hold the audience? Many can’t. It’s a rare artist who, alone, can create magic. When an artist fails to do so, it’s a failure of that artist, not the concept of a solo recital.

The solo recital is a unique thing. Encumbered with bells and whistles, it becomes something else. That’s not a knock against something else. Something else is fine—if something else is what you like, then enjoy it. But what’s the point of criticizing a thing because it’s not what it was never intended to be?

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA
I think it was me who first raised singing.

I also said there would always be a place for the formal solo recital.

I wasn't suggesting that it's a necessarily a good idea to mix the two.

What I said was that for some audiences, a bit of singing goes down very well and in fact, brings the classical guitar to people who probably wouldn't have even known it existed.

I don't like the inference that people who engage in a bit of singing, or something else perhaps, do so, because they can't hold the attention of an audience with the guitar alone.

When I last played a solo guitar recital (no singing!) in Romsey Abbey, someone commented afterwards the audience were extremely quiet. I replied, I know, I didn't hear a sound. I played the footage back to later, and I can honestly say, that there wasn't a single significant noise from an audience of 80-100 people, in 45 minutes.

I want to point out I didn't say that to big myself up, I want people to understand that I didn't start experimenting with singing, because I'm unable to hold an audience with a solo guitar.

I see it as taking an imaginative approach to musical performance.

I don't think it's good that so many people seem to live in a CG bubble. I think we need to reach out to the wider world, when we can.
Lucy you obviously don't live far from me... ?

I did a recital in Romsey Abbey some 15 years ago - fantastic venue. I played Asturias, Granada, Recuerdos, Villa Lobos Prelude 1, Capricho Arabe, Danza Espanola 5, Seranata Espanola (Malats) and a few easy pieces such as Dedicatoria and the like... I remember thinking how well I had played that night but I think the massive sound in there helped! Funnily enough I shared the concert with a lady who sang some songs, and I (and a band) accompanied her - her songs were not my cup of tea but some people liked them. Most of the audience were oldies... What did you play in there?
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lucy
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by lucy » Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:58 pm

Julian Ward wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:54 pm
I did a recital in Romsey Abbey some 15 years ago - fantastic venue. I played Asturias, Granada, Recuerdos, Villa Lobos Prelude 1, Capricho Arabe, Danza Espanola 5, Seranata Espanola (Malats) and a few easy pieces such as Dedicatoria and the like... I remember thinking how well I had played that night but I think the massive sound in there helped! Funnily enough I shared the concert with a lady who sang some songs, and I (and a band) accompanied her - her songs were not my cup of tea but some people liked them. Most of the audience were oldies... What did you play in there?
Hi Julian

I've done 3 lunchtime concerts in Romsey Abbey and I'm in the process of arranging my 4th. Here's what I played in each. Be prepared. It's not all the most difficult stuff and there's a few popular tunes in there too. I don't believe music has to be difficult to have aesthetic value. I wanted to appeal to a cross-section of people too. (I seem to like Julia Florida. I'll make sure I don't play it next time!)

1. The Way We Were, Sor - Study in Bm (Opus 35 No.22), I Dreamt In Dwelt in Marble Halls, Julia Florida, Villa-Lobos - Prelude No.1, MacDowell - To a Wild Rose, Misty, Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Sons de Carrilhões

2. The Onedin Line (Spartacus), Carcassi - Study in A (Opus 60 No.3), Julia Florida, Tears in Heaven, Cardoso - Milonga, Cavatina, Un Dia de Noviembre, Plaisir d'Amour

3. Maria Linnemann - Canzone d'Amore, Tears in Heaven, Bach - Sarabande in Bm (BWV 1002), Bach - Prelude (BWV 998), Caccini - Ave Maria, Julia Florida, Una Limosna por un Amor de Dios, Cavatina
"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.
By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world."
Robert Louis Stevenson

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Julian Ward
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Julian Ward » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:34 pm

Nice Lucy, I remember playing Tears in Heaven in the restaurant type of gigs. It's nice - haven't played it for years! I expect Limosna sounded good in there!
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musicbyandy
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by musicbyandy » Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:52 am

mcg wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:24 pm
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?
Can you write an example or examples of existing shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music. Do you think that The Walls by Sergio Assad and/or How Little You Are by Nico Nuhly are examples of shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music?

Can you write an example of examples of existing collaboration with other artists (actors? visual artists? film makers? photographers?) to create something more dimensional than a straightforward classical music recital?

Dirck Nagy
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:10 pm

musicbyandy wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:52 am

Can you write an example or examples of existing shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music. Do you think that The Walls by Sergio Assad and/or How Little You Are by Nico Nuhly are examples of shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music?

Can you write an example of examples of existing collaboration with other artists (actors? visual artists? film makers? photographers?) to create something more dimensional than a straightforward classical music recital?
  • Program Music (cf. "Absolute music") by definition has a theme which represents something other than the notes on the page. It became commonplace in the Romantic period, e.g. Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. I suspect that any time a composer titles a piece something other than "sonata" or "etude" that they are writing programatically.
  • I don't know the Assad or Nuhly examples, sorry.
  • Every Opera, Song, Ballet, Incidental music for theater, religious music, etc. is a collaboration of forms. (music + literature, dance, acting, stage design, costuming, even religious ritual, etc) Any time a performance venue is chosen for a reason other than convenience is a partnership of music and architecture. Any time a musician performs in a gallery is a collaboration of sound + visual art. Even the clothes one wears onstage are a subtle dimension.
As I said earlier, one doesn't need lasers, models of Stonehenge, and dancing dwarves to qualify as "mixed media". Mixed media = different routes to the goal of artistic expression, however subtle.

As sentinent beings, we are affected by the simultaneous combination of our senses. We cannot avoid this, despite our sitting with our eyes closed. There is a continuum between unconscious perception, on one hand, and the variety show... the multi-media extravaganza so bemoaned by @lovemyguitar and @TomPoore.

cheers
dirkc

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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by muirtan » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:43 pm

musicbyandy wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:52 am
mcg wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:24 pm
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?
Can you write an example or examples of existing shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music. Do you think that The Walls by Sergio Assad and/or How Little You Are by Nico Nuhly are examples of shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music?

Can you write an example of examples of existing collaboration with other artists (actors? visual artists? film makers? photographers?) to create something more dimensional than a straightforward classical music recital?
I know I keep mentioning James Boyd but look at his website to see what he offers, some of his concerts are the ' standard sort of classical concert' but some are very different. Each concert is programmed around a theme. https://www.jamesboyd.co.uk/music/ The wilderness concerts mentioned at the end are very different.

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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by musicbyandy » Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:22 pm

mcg wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:24 pm
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?
At present I don't understand what you are asking of respondents.
Can you make your two questions more specific?
What exactly about shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music do you wish to know?
What exactly about collaboration with other artists (actors? visual artists? film makers? photographers?) to create something more dimensional than a straightforward classical music recital do you wish to know?

For example do you wish for respondents to:
List examples of existing such shows & collaborations?
Write opinions regarding such shows & collaborations?
Write ideas for potential future such shows & collaborations?
Offer you some form of support for you to create such shows & collaborations?
Is it important to you how respondents answer the two questions?
Are you looking for all of these possible responses and potentially more types of responses?

I'm very interested in shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music and collaboration with other artists to create something more dimensional than a straightforward classical music recital and would love to know how I can help answer your two questions.
Last edited by musicbyandy on Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:26 pm

Since people keep mentioning me, I do wish to point out that I am not completely opposed to the types of performances advocated by the OP -- quite the contrary (as I clearly stated in my initial post, part of which I've copied below). There is certainly a place for such things, but I do not think that they should replace the traditional concert, which is what the OP was clearly suggesting in his/her initial remarks (which I have also copied below). Just setting the record straight!

Perhaps I am oversensitive, but when somebody refers to something that I love as being "unimaginative, uninteresting and arcane", it annoys me a little bit, and, I think, with some justification. We are on a "classical guitar forum", after all, which is a place that ought to celebrate the tradition that attracted many of us to the instrument in the first place: the intimacy and beauty of a solo classical guitar performance. That is something that enriches my life immeasurably, and I would not want to live without it.
mcg wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:24 pm
...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...
Lovemyguitar wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:24 am
...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....

musicbyandy
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Re: Concerts/recitals - time for more imagination?

Post by musicbyandy » Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:33 pm

muirtan wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:43 pm
musicbyandy wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:52 am
mcg wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:24 pm
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?
Can you write an example or examples of existing shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music. Do you think that The Walls by Sergio Assad and/or How Little You Are by Nico Nuhly are examples of shows with strong stories, themes or narratives that overlie the music?

Can you write an example of examples of existing collaboration with other artists (actors? visual artists? film makers? photographers?) to create something more dimensional than a straightforward classical music recital?
I know I keep mentioning James Boyd but look at his website to see what he offers, some of his concerts are the ' standard sort of classical concert' but some are very different. Each concert is programmed around a theme. https://www.jamesboyd.co.uk/music/ The wilderness concerts mentioned at the end are very different.

Cool. Let's see how MCG responds.
Last edited by musicbyandy on Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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