4. Anne Midgette: Concert Programs versus Recordings

WHAT’S IN THIS VIDEO: Classical music concerts suffer from competition with every recording in history. Audiences for recordings and for concerts are often different. In the hall, it’s about the moment – a meal where the courses fit one another. Recordings can make you a lazy listener – you can sample and skip around. Following your local orchestra over a series of programs creates a relationship. major League baseball is different from minor league baseball – the experiences are different – not necessarily one better than the other as experiences. Also for live concerts.



  1. Live and recorded performances both have their advantages. But recordings are more or less constructed by producers and editors to make sure that the multiple recorded session turns into a CD that people will buy. Smaller local orchestras have a difficult time living up to the ideas of large nationally acclaimed organizations. But in the end, its still a group of people who take time to work together to put on a performance to enlighten the audience, whoever they are.

  2. Well made point about the differences between live performance and recorded. It is harder to attend the music while you are in your house with lots of competing stimuli. Many people turns on the music player just as background white noise.

  3. An interesting comparison/contrast regarding live performance vs. recording. I attend the MET simulcast opera performances at a local theater—from time to time–and, even though we in the theater audience watch/listen to the operas on the screen, we know that we are watching a live performance —happening in real time, and that sense of participation and magic is there.

    • I agree with PMMRC. I live in London but have seen live broadcasts of operas from the Met. Knowing that you are sharing not only the programme but the time itself with the others at the performance makes a difference, I think. The feeling of connection that brings it to life reminds me of Philip Larkin’s poems The Whitsun Weddings and Broadcast (even though the speaker in Broadcast doesn’t think much of the concert).

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