I don’t get the deal with concerts on DVD.
I mean, yeah, I get that it’s a fuller sensory experience, and things like opera and rock concerts are part visual performance. But for me, great musical achievements in things like opera and rock (and, don’t kill me, the occasional one in pop), transcend their visual elements and the music stands proudly on its own, like the Maria Callas arias, Les Miserables and the Scorpions. I don’t entirely buy the idea that it’s like being in the concert – not unless you’re able to fly around the way the cameras seem to do today – and for classical concerts a problem is that sometimes the visual editor’s preferences place counter-melodies and harmonies into the shadows. They are a good teaching tool and people can learn much from watching, but if for a purely musical experience, it doesn’t really work, methinks.
My favorite musical moments, both as a listener and a player, have been in the dark. You eliminate the other senses and are totally alone with sound.
(Of course, if everyone agreed with me, we could have formal concerts in our pajamas – or… less – how about it, eh?)
DVDs are great fun though, for parties and such, if you’re not in for entirely serious listening. Interestingly, the last three comments I remember being about DVD recordings are the following:
1. Look at him go! A little stream of Bashmet’s sweat is going into his viola
2. The three seemingly aligned bald spots in the outer first violin players in the first three desks of the Vienna Phil
3. A first violinist at the back of the Berlin Phil wearing a tie from Bangkok (I believe this last comment was followed by a round of “cheers!” and future alcoholic intoxication)
That, and more serious comments and concerns on the monumental Claudio Abbado’s health. Maybe essentially that’s it – that DVD recordings aren’t really meant for a greater purely musical experience, but to bring out a wider, more human response.
I can get that.