Sunday, February 19, 2012

Going to Concerts

This might sound odd, I suppose, but I don't usually go to concerts to hear a particular artist play. Sometimes, I do, yes. A couple of weeks ago I went to hear Pepe Romero play two different solo concerts back to back, but that was mostly because I studied with him long ago and so there is a personal connection. And we went to dinner afterwards. But absent that kind of connection, what lures me to a concert is not the performer, but the repertoire. I would rather hear a modestly-gifted artist play some interesting repertoire competently than an international superstar render some repertoire that doesn't interest me. I think this puts me at odds with most of the classical music audience!

As a necessity of the current musical scene, every young artist needs people to attend her concerts. In order to achieve this, she 'brands' herself. Greg Sandow has a whole series of posts on the question of self-branding for the purposes of promotion. Here is one. I tend to be a bit allergic to the whole idea. What really attracts me is the pieces being played, not who is playing them. There are some artists that I will go see on faith, but they are pretty rare and half of them are dead! So, given the burgeoning field of young up-and-comers, I will only go see them if they are playing repertoire I really want to hear. This makes me a terrible concert-goer!

One of those artists I would go to see, no matter what, was Nigel Rogers, who is now retired. I saw him give an amazing concert of all 17th century vocal music after which he had to give seven encores before we let him go.

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