Friday, March 9, 2007

'Just you and the music'

Why can't classical concerts be less formal and stuffy and more visually stimulating or theatrical? Soho the Dog (Matthew Guerrieri) explains:

"[T]he clothes and the etiquette and the distance of the performers aren't what's intimidating, it's that none of those things give any clear instruction as to what you're supposed to think of the experience. It ends up being just you and the music. And if you've spent your life having marketers and mass media telling you what to think, that freedom can be disquieting indeed. . . .

"[O]ne of the indispensible and vital pleasures of art music (classical and jazz . . . ) is the immersion in the sound on its own terms — not just rhythm and harmony, but the actual sound of the music. And a lot of the logistics of traditional classical performance — the uniform attire, the comparative silence of the audience, the lack of patter and superfluous stage business — have the salutary effect of not diverting your attention from that sound."

The post, "The Wrong Trousers," is a must-read for performers and presenters thinking of rug-concerteering or tarting up their presentation: