For those of us who are involved with classical music, whether professionally or as an amateur, attending a classical concert is, if not a regular occurrence, something which slots into our diaries from time to time.
For those outside the genre however, the thought of spending an evening listening to a symphony orchestra, string quartet or solo pianist for a couple of hours is the last thing they would choose to do.
Indeed, with the plethora of recordings on the market, the temptation to relax at home and listen to a CD is perhaps a hard offer to turn down. Yet, the concert experience offers much more than the chance to hear specific repertoire.
A largely acoustic genre, hearing classical music live usually presents the work in a space that the composer intended. Not only does this open the landscape of the piece to the listener, by providing an appropriate space and acoustic, but also lets the audience share the ‘air’ of the performance, the medium vital for music and life.
Through an invisible field of Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide and other gases, the listener is in direct contact with the performer’s interpretation and the subtle changes and nuances that are formed ‘in the moment’. This spontaneous artistic creation is surely one of the greatest assets of the concert experience.
Of course this shared experience is not always comfortable. Hard seats, not much leg-room, someone coughing a few rows in front, might be a few of the distractions along the way. Yet those who wish for a perfect environment are probably seeking a perfection that can never be obtained. Moreover, compared to most other communal experiences in modern society, the classical concert is one of the few places where you can sit, peacefully and just listen.
It is this environment that is so vital and necessary. The classical concert experience is a place to listen, a place to let your imagination awaken and for your thoughts about the music and beyond, to change and deepen.
As part of the Notes into Letters programme, creative-writing students were asked to attend some concerts and then write a piece of creative writing based on their experiences. You can read about the writers involved in each project and see their work by following the links below: