Does the presence of a Sex and the City DVD on top of the TV decrease the cultural snobbery quotient of this photo?
The opening night gala for the NY Phil is currently being aired on PBS, in their “Live From Lincoln Center” series. It’s amazing how pivotal the Lincoln Center is in American fine arts – you can’t talk about any form of fine arts without mentioning the Lincoln Center at one point or another, whether it be ballet, Broadway, classical music, or opera.
Of course a televised symphony performance isn’t as attention-grabbing nor as euphoric as a live performance. I love being enveloped in the sounds of a live orchestra, with lots to see in addition to the lush sounds. That being said, it’s still a wonderful opportunity for viewers like me, who are on the opposite coast, to hear and watch great performers such as Yo Yo Ma.
He was the reason why I am watching this. I saw Yo Yo Ma perform this same piece, the Dvorak cello concerto, in Shanghai, China a few years ago (actually quite a few years ago). After the concert, I turned to my friend and said that Ma plays like what every musician strives to sound like, in his/her head, without any obstacles such as technical limitations or bias. When Itzhak Perlman introduced him on TV by listing his flawless technique as his first feature of a great artist, I realized that I’ve never even thought about Ma’s technique. Ma’s genius lies in the fact that his musicality so overwhelms everything that his technique is completely unnoticeable, and all you notice is the music pouring out of him. Even on a televised show like this, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the TV screen.
Let me mention that the Yo Yo Ma recital at Cal Performances sold out extremely fast. And it’s only a recital, without a full orchestra! Amazing.
It’s hard to tell how “good” the NY Phil is on TV, and how it compares to my beloved San Francisco Symphony. Many happy wishes on their gala opening, which is tomorrow. Another great season is about to begin!
Back to the NY Phil gala. It’s an all-Dvorak program, including the Carnival Overture, the Cello Concerto, and Symphony No. 7., conducted by Lorin Maazel. Now I have a bone to pick about the program. It seems like very few classical music symphony programs are making me happy these days. Maybe I’m just cantankerous, or am old fashioned (at the ripe age of being in my twenties). But what happened to the “normal” programming, where a good mix of differing composers are featured in one program, that are linked thematically/musically? I guess that’s too passe now? Dvorak is definitely gala-worthy in that his music is powerful, emotional, moving and majestic. But my feeling is that even with great works like the works presented here, things start to sound the same. And it’s a gala! It should be outlandishly and over the top with diverse offerings, an unabashed spectacle. A celebration of the beginning of the season.
I started having fun with some screencaps and my camera. More random thoughts:
You’ll never get a view like this, live.
This is the reason why I dated the principal oboe player, when I was the principal flute player (proximity, if it wasn’t obvious). Ah, good old youth orchestra days…
I can feel his pain and his passion through the screen. Absolutely breathtaking.
Check your local listings, see if it’s playing in your neck of the woods, here.