Monday, March 05, 2007

Hearing a performance

How important is seeing a performance and hearing a performance at a concert?
I just read this from ArtsJournal - an article from the Baltimore Sun:
The dancer also can seem unconcerned about engaging in a conversation with his audience. Glover's habit of dancing with his back to the ticket buyers riles some critics. Others see in this practice merely the necessity for Glover to make eye contact with the musicians who surround him on stage. It is very clear that Glover considers Higgins and Kim and the others equal partners in an intimate and engrossing conversation. And, how can he talk to them if he's not looking at them?

Does it bother you (critics and audience members alike) when a soloist makes eye contact with say the oboist playing a line, and doesn't face the audience completely? What about players who close their eyes while playing? Is that rude?
Does any of it matter when the performance is stunning and moving?

I'm interested in knowing your thoughts, share them in the comments below!


Patty said...

I don't fully qualify as an audience member I suppose, since I'm often on stage, but here's my thought:

I LIKE it when a soloist turns and connects with an orchestra player. It shows me that 1) the soloist isn't so egotistical that he/she doesn't realize that there is an entire group of musicians behind him/her 2) the soloist is well aware that there is something going on between soloist and musician 3) it makes the orchestra player feel as if he she MATTERS. Woo hoo!

Hmmm. I guess 1, 2 & 3 are really saying the same thing, aren't they?

I once played English horn in Ravel's Piano Concerto and the pianist never even acknowledged that there was a huge English horn solo going on. It was just very odd to me.

Oh well!

So there's my less than a penny's worth of thought.

John said...

Thanks! I would often get a smile when playing in the 2nd violin section as the soloist would look over.
And I see it more often these days - soloists who are really communicating to the orchestra and audience - and not because of a poor director - but seemingly for the joy of music.
A soloist (okay, Janine Jansen) in Washington DC told me that it makes the playing more fun when its "chamber music like" interacting with the orchestra.

Patty said...

And don't we LOVE those smiles? I mean ... orchestra members are people too. ;-)

I would guess it would be more fun, too, for the soloists ... feeling more a part of the whole and all.

Seriously ... I know that it feels more musical, and more as if we are all striving for that "momen" when the soloist acknowledges that we are playing together. Not "for" (although we are also doing that since we are, most of the time, accompanying), but "together".

I'd love to work with Janine Jansen someday ... but, alas, while we used to get some "names" our newly formed orchestra (sort of resurrected from the defunct San Jose Symphony) only uses the lesser known but more affordable folks. But I can dream ...?!