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Sarah Chang and the Philadelphia Orchestra


Irene
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Just got back from hearing Sarah Chang play the Sibelius violin concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra. I had a front row seat, and I must say, it was an amazing experience. She played powerfully and well.

In addition to the Sibelius, the Philadelphians played Webern's "Im Sommerwind" and Martinu's 4th symphony-- both very beautiful pieces too.

You know, in spite of all the discussion on this board about who's good and who isn't and who is or isn't worth listening to, I've gotta say that getting to hear any accomplished (or even an amateur) musician with the guts to get up and play for somebody else is just fantastic-- they are all different, it's like hearing different people talk to you about something important to them. I definitely feel like I learn so much by hearing different people play-- and it's not something that I know how to quantify or put in words, but just to soak up the bow strokes and the left hand movements, and the tone colors, and the personalities! I could go on and on.

Just my humble take on things...

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: You know, in spite of all the discussion on this board about who's good and who isn't and who is or isn't worth listening to, I've gotta say that getting to hear any accomplished (or even an amateur) musician with the guts to get up and play for somebody else is just fantastic-- they are all different, it's like hearing different people talk to you about something important to them. I definitely feel like I learn so much by hearing different people play-- and it's not something that I know how to quantify or put in words, but just to soak up the bow strokes and the left hand movements, and the tone colors, and the personalities!

********

Hello Irene,

I like live performances much more than most recordings. Somehow they are more complete.

A. Brown

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Thank you for the compliment... but I wouldn't say that I'm always open-minded with everyone. For one thing, I don't have much patience for watching people with really extreme mannerisms or who have cultivated bad habits-- with their bow hold, for example. And people who play really sluggishly-- or look like somebody else is forcing them to play and would rather be a million miles away-- drive me nuts. Though it might be nice to give such performers a little grace, because people do change, and of course they have bad days that we don't necessarily know about.

Maybe what I meant was that I love to listen to people play who *enjoy* playing and who love the music.

Hmm... as for not being a Sarah Chang fan, I guess I'm not a particular "fan" of hers either, nor of anyone else, for that matter. But I do respect and admire everyone out there who has devoted their lives to music. Everybody contributes something unique and valuable.

I can say that Chang really was wonderful in person-- she really, really knew the music; she seemed to be perfectly in her element. She was obviously thrilled to be playing-- she smiled at the audience from time to time, and the way she looked at the conductor and sort of "gestured" to him at just the right moments really made it feel like the two of them were partners, working together to make a piece of music work-- she wasn't self-centered at all. I saw her gazing upwards a lot-- I know what she was looking at. The concert hall it was in that night was the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, and it has a four-story-high, gloriously painted ceiling with a fabulous chandelier. It tickled me because I have stood on that stage before too (not to perform, though) and marveled at that ceiling-- I always look at it when I go to the Academy, but it is most stunning if you are looking at it from the stage.

I guess all in all she was a *generous* performer.

Whether or not there are people who play more musically or more intelligently or whatever, she really did embody, at least to some degree, almost everything I would want to be as a musician. It's that love, that passion, and the openness and connection with one's listeners and fellow musicians that I couldn't help but admire about her. Of course her technique was excellent (I saw another soloist perform the same piece last year, and he flubbed a lot of the difficult parts) and her artistry was not to be scoffed at, either.

: ... because THAT is what the spirit of music is all about. OK... I'm not a Sarah Chang fan at all, but isn't music just another - pretty fantastic, no less - method of communication? I wish there were more open-minded people like you!

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: I thoroughly agree. There is something about a live performance that adds an extra dimension. That someone is giving part of themselves for your pleasure is a wonderful gift. I go to as many as I can afford and i amways come away feeling uplifted yet humbled!

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