Saturday, November 21, 2020

online concert reviews

And here we have it: my return to formal concert reviewing for the first time since March. Kohl Mansion, one of my regular venues, started this month to sponsor online concerts, as so many other chamber music providers have done, and I thought they deserved coverage in the Daily Journal. My editor sounded pleased to have me back (though I'd already done a roundup last month of what local vendors are doing online).

The timing was ideal, with two concerts within two weeks of each other, and the third in the series not for another two months, so I could conclude by promoting it far in advance. I was a little hesitant to approach these for full-length reviews, partly because they're only half-length concerts and partly because I find it more challenging to concentrate on an online concert than an in-person one, but mostly because, with all the recording and computer equipment intervening, I am less sure I'm getting an unmediated listening experience. So I chose to write more briefly on both concerts together, so I could be more succinct.

The result was one of those cases where all my judgment of the works and the performance gets packed into two or three well-chosen (I hope) words for each item, and I spent as much attention on the acoustics as anything else. That I mislaid my notes on the first concert before writing the review two weeks later also contributed; fortunately I remembered the main points. Frankly I was less eager to hear these concerts than the third one, which will be Beethoven's Op. 130 quartet, but the sheer quality of the performances overwhelmed any lesser degree of interest in the music played. I'm content with the result.

Menlo is also doing online concerts, so I'll wait a decent interval and then take up one of theirs.

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