More on short concerts

May 7, 2008


Tonight I went to a concert, and after the second piece on the 2nd half, I was FULL. I had a hard time listening to more. The music went in my brain, but I didn’t aggressively take it in as I did when I was fresh. It wasn’t that the music was bad, it was just that I couldn’t take any more.

As I said a while back, short concerts are effective in many ways. In a way, every piece is like a drug, ok, call it a unique biochemical experience, or set of experiences that vary, depending on your “mood,” the time of day, how busy you are, how sad you are, how happy you are, how anxious you are, how sleepy you are. Presenting too much music, at least for me, is like mixing alcohol. Bad programming is like milk and grapefruit, olives and ice cream — yes, they are both foods, but they don’t really belong together, or even next to each other in meal. I cherish the rasa (aesthetic flavor) of hearing a single piece. And if there are multiple pieces, I appreciate thoughtful, effective, and complementary programming. I dare add another component — appreciation capacity — how much can an audience really take in until it is “full?”

If concerts would be one hour and 15 minutes max, our social life could be more active. Meaning, we could go out for drinks after the concert, or eat dinner, see a movie, or go somewhere because the night is still young. AND you are high on the music you’ve just heard.

Three cheers for short concerts!

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