Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Concert Preparation in the Post-Gazette

The Post-Gazette's Andrew Druckenbrod provides an excellent and all-to-rare service to us all in today's paper. It was good enough when I read it in the print version of the paper this morning, but the online version is even better. The article gives the reader a fairly decent introduction to Handel's Messiah, which will be performed this weekend by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. In the online version, the article comes complete with sound clips that you can listen to.

It would be nice if the Post-Gazette would provide similar preparation article for all of the Symphony's concerts, instead of doing only after-the-fact reviews. I often encounter reviews of performances (especially by smaller and lesser-known ensembles) that I would have loved to have seen, but didn't know about beforehand. It's nice to know that they did a good job; it would have been even nicer to have been there to see them do it.

More to the point, most people don't really know enough about making music -- even famous pieces such as the Messiah -- to really appreciate how incredibly impressive our local Pittsburgh musicians truly are. Most of us played plenty of sports as kids, so we have some perspective and can recognize talent when we see it. But very few of us these days have ever tried to play an instrument of any kind, and so it's hard to understand just how difficult good music is to make.

Live music, and especially live classical music, is so much more fun when you walk in with even a bit of exposure to the works you are about to hear. The Post-Gazette is really doing a wonderful thing here by talking up this week's concerts before they happen, and giving people some background about the Messiah that they can carry with them into Heinz Hall. Take advantage of this rare opportunity while you can. And let's hope that there might be a few more articles like this one in the future.

No comments: