Hearing live unamplified music in various venues performed by various size groups is critical to our ability to design and assemble systems that get closest to reproducing the music performed on a recording. To that end, we attend various live music events. At the same time we go to concerts because we LOVE music!
The latest concert attended
Gale, Toni, and Charlie traveled to Kansas City to hear live orchestral music.
On this occasion, Michael Stern conducted the Kansas City Symphony orchestra in their new Helzberg hall.
The hall was designed with the collaboration of acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota who was also instrumental in the design of the Walt Disney concert hall in LA. It is an unusual but very good sounding design. It exhibits a good balance between very live, where the reverberation tends to smear detail of the performance and instrument sound, and one where the sound is constrained with no sense of space. Most recognized very good halls are refractive but not overly reflective. There is a sense of space, which contributes to the expressiveness of the performance without overwhelming it. The interior is mostly wood, giving it the signature sound of a good hall. The many curves refract and distribute the sound giving an excellent sense of space without overwhelming the articulation of fast passages and the sound of the instruments. Some describe this sound as warm. Certainly it is not overly reflective like a cathedral. The highly reverberant hall smears the sound, obscuring what is happening in fast passages.
The Music and the Performance
The music was Gustav Mahler’s 9th Symphony. The symphony is about 84 minutes long in most performances but ranges from less than 80 to more than 90 minutes. It was written in 1908-09 and was Mahler’s last complete orchestral work. Mahler died in 1911 at 51.
The symphony encompasses passages ranging from forté with brass, tympani and bass drum predominating to the exquisite final movement, which opens quietly and slowly for strings only. The final pianissimo dies a way in a single note. This wide range of expression and dynamics really draws you in. All of this is difficult to reproduce. The reproduction must convey the range of emotions Mahler intended.
We have heard Mahler 9 live now 3 times. We have eight different recordings of the symphony. We know this music. This performance was outstanding. Stern did a great job.
Going to hear live music of all kinds is part of how we keep our ears tuned.
Other concerts attended in the last year include The Omaha Symphony and several events at the Aspen Music Festival. Charlie, Doug, Gale, Jim and Todd have attended various events.