It is frustrating.....

I'm an audiophile because I'm a music lover. Like most of the people on this site, I try cables, equipment, spikes, etc with one goal : to get the best out of 'canned' music, make it as close to life performance as possible. Knowing that 'perfect' reproduction is impossible, I go to live concerts as much as I can - on the average 10 classical music concerts, 2 ~ 3 operas, some jazz concerts per year.

Than it starts to become frustrating. Third time this year, I have left a concert at the break in Lincoln centre (NYC).

The acoustics : great, individual instruments : very palatable (!), no coloration, yadi yada yada...

Performance : miserable. No soul, no urge, no involvement from the orchestra... No pride in their work ?

Give me my 'miserable' listening room, 'coloring' cables, 'imperfect' equipment ... even a 'mono' CD - but a good, involving performance !

I'm not even talking about 'technical / mechanical' performance of the musicians - for me, technical brilliance is important, but secondary. It is the feel, interpretation, the 'soul' which is more important.

And the audience - horrible (see the thread 'cough vigilante). It is actually worse ... May be someday they will sell popcorn in the concert halls...

I have decided that I can save that $50/$60 per person / per concert, plus the trimmings, to buy 'canned' performances.

No wonder that the industry is complaining about less and less concert goers - they've just lost two.

Sorry for the rumblings.... I had to let some steam out...
I live just outside of Cleveland, home to what many people consider to be one of the finest orchestras in the country, but I only get to about one or two concerts each year. Not because of scheduling, but because of the lack of decent programming. I love a great piece of music, but the Cleveland Orchestra, for all its strengths, tends to play the same old warhorses over and over and over again. I firmly believe that this is one of the reasons that "classical" music is so quickly becoming less and less popular. Cleveland's got an audience of 70 and 80 year olds who will walk out if anything that was written in the past 75 years is played, and that's the audience for which Dohnanyi programs. One way to draw in new faces might be to draw in new(er) material. I, personally, would certainly attend more concerts if more new music were played.
I also find listening to my home system much more enjoyable than going to an orchestra concert because of the audience (or, in my home, the lack thereof). There's such an elitist atmosphere of snobbery at these concerts. Besides, staying at home is more comfortable. I can't go to Severence Hall to see the Cleveland Orchestra in my underwear while eating ice cream.
One thing that I have wondered, though: how does one compare a rock and roll concert to a recording of a rock and roll band. If one were to go to see Rush or Pearl Jam at the local stadium, I can't imagine that any of the audiophile "buzzwords" would apply. With all of the screaming and the enormous, bass-heavy PA speakers, there really wouldn't be much of a soundstage or any clarity to speak of, would there? Wouldn't a good recording of rock music always be superior to a concert?
Amen Jsbail, there is plenty of wonderful and inpassioned music making taking place; particularly in NYC. One has to be willing to venture beyond the more familiar venues, but even in those, great music making takes place on a regular basis. Don't you guys (and ladies) ever go to American Composers Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall. Very interesting and challenging stuff and beautifuly played by the best musicians in NYC, particularly when conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, a brilliant and inspired maestro. Most performances at the Met particularly under Levine are fabulous in my opinion. There is really interesting change happening at the NYC Ballet, I encourage those who in the past found that orchestra lackluster to give them another chance. The Brooklyn Phil under Spano is giving some at times electrifying performances. And let's not forget our neighbor the NJ Symphony under Macal, really good stuff. Check out some of the smaller ensembles such as EOS (across the street from Lincoln Center at the Society for Ethical Culture); truly innovative programming and vibrant playing. Merkin Hall regularly offers fascinating programming by some of the most interesting chamber ensembles around, like Speculum Musicae, Met Orchestra ensembles, and others. As far as jazz and other improvisatory music there is always great stuff going on in NYC. The Knitting Factory, Small's, the Village Vanguard always has great artists featured. As far as the NY Phil goes, I assure you the vast majority of the players care very deeply about what they do. Yes it is true that at times the performances leave much to be desired but classical music (any worthwhile music for that matter) is under attack by the electronic dreck that passes for music these days. The music and it's practitioners need the support of the public not the condescension that seems at times to be in vogue. Why that is I'm not sure but I suspect that in part it is due to the possibility that the pursuit of audio perfection in the home has caused some to feel somewhat uninvolved during the live music experience. Some of the "attributes" of far too many "audiophile" systems are in fact distortions in my experience. There will never be substitutes for some of the great artists of the past; just as there will never be a substitute for the sound of live music.
Sorry for the double post folks. Trouble with my log on. Sugarbrie, I could'nt agree with you more concerning "cross-over artists". Allow me to relate an experience I had working under "maestro" McFerrin. I had the pleasure of working as an extra player with the NY Phil a couple of years ago during one of their Parks summer series. He conducted Gershwin's American in Paris. He had a lot of trouble with a piece that is not particularly demanding of conducting chops; to the extent that in the somewhat tricky double time section 3/4's of the way through, the only way that things would not fall apart was if he stopped conducting altogether. The final performance of the series was on the night of a fierce rain storm and due to the resultant traffic jams one of the saxophone players was late. Either McFerrin is incredibly cool and composed(no pun intended)or as most suspected, he did not even notice. Now, as you said he is talented in what he does well, but that is an indication of what oftentimes happens in orchestras. The players feel discouraged and even a bit offended that they have to work for coductors who really are not up to par. Avguygeorge, you might be interested in this one, and verifiably true. Reiner was always known for having a, at times, impossibly small beat pattern. One of the Chicago bassists, know as a jokester, set up a small telescope on a tripod at the first rehearsal one week. He would peer into it on occasion to the glee of some. Reiner said nothing for three days. On the fourth day, as the rehearsal was ending he held up a small note and pointed it at the bass section. In small letters, visible only through the telescope was written: "You're Fired".
I am performing in a concert with Dave Brubeck on March 24th in Baltimore. I am not sure who is crossing over to who. Dave has composed a lot of music for chorus and jazz quartet, so I guess we are meeting half-way. We will be recording the music the next day coming to a Tower Records near you. Anyone interested in coming? More information at
Excellent post, Frogman, and good luck with your singing, I presume, Sugarbrie. I'll put in a plug for the NJ Symphony Orchestra, Zdenek Macaal does not let them give anything but a fully committed performance. There are plenty of smaller ensembles and soloists performing in localities around the NYC area who give fine performances, that's one of the best things about this area. BTW, Frogman, unfortunately the Brooklyn Phil is losing/has lost Maestro Spano to the Atlanta Symphony, so it's clear others noticed his considerable talent as well.