Is the traditional concert experience actually a radical one?

In the classical music world, we talk so much about ways to enhance the tradition-bound concert experience—down with tuxes and gowns! up with video projections!—that I found this an interesting read for an alternative point-of-view.

For at least one theater enthusiast, the very lack of directed visuals is what makes the traditional classical music concert so interesting:

When watching an orchestra perform we’re granted extraordinary interpretative freedom. The conductor might be commanding his musicians, but he cannot control his audience – the places our eyes and imagination might travel, and how this might affect our viewing and listening experience. Sure, the musicians follow a set score, which in turn follows a vague narrative, or at least an emotional journey. In this respect, it might seem no different from the script the actors interpret on stage. And yet the way in which that score is received can be influenced by the strangest factors, completely outside the conductor’s and musicians’ control. Read the full article by Miriam Gillinson.

There is indeed something meditative and personal about the whole thing. Does our ritual’s quiet predictability allow for an individual experience and interpretation that a more dramatic presentation might discourage? Maybe we should just turn down the lights and perform in the dark?

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