Orchestral concerts are a lot of fun, but for those who have never been, going to see a show can raise a lot of questions. After taking some classical music newbies to see the symphony, a few common queries emerged.
Without the benefit of reading or research, these two people are simply wandering from quarter to quarter, taking pictures that include “a beautiful old church” as well as some creative graffiti in forgotten little alcoves.
Anyone with even a glancing knowledge of Western music history knows that Beethoven first rattled the cage of Classical form, then demolished it with oupourings of emotion using then-unconventional means. But so much of the Beethoven we hear on symphony stages sounds so tame. Is this really the music that shocked listeners 200 years ago?
As someone who moves between a percussion instrument (piano) and a wind instrument (pipe organ), I’ve long been conscious of how our sense of rhythm and tempo is affected by the presence or absence of attack, that split-second moment when a note begins to sound.
I had a shock of recognition as I read British music critic Jessica Duchen’s post today on U.K. site CultureKicks on the difficulties of writing or speaking about music if your audience doesn’t know the basics.