We need more mad geniuses

This blog spends quite a lot of time musing on what makes great recorded sound. So it was rather ironic that yesterday evening I found myself musing on the futility of the recording process. The occasion was Jordi Savall's solo viol recital in the church of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich. As the evening progressed Marais, Abel, Forqueray and above all Jordi Savall took us to the edge of a precipice where the view was spell-binding, but from where you knew there was an awfully long way to fall. It was one of those magical moments that can only happen in a concert and can never be captured by a recording. How right Benjamin Britten was when he said "music demands more from a listener than simply the possession of a tape-machine or a transistor radio". How wrong Glenn Gould was to abandon the concert hall for the recording studio. How right Sergiu Celibidache was to abandon the recording studio for the concert hall. Celibidache has been called the last of the mad genius conductors. Yesterday's Norfolk & Norwich Festival recital by Jordi Savall was sold out. Isn't the answer to classical music's dwindling audiences obvious? We need more mad geniuses, not more PR agency parsed 20-something celebrities. Roll on tomorrow's performance of Jerusalem.

Own up when you get it wrong. I was one of several people who expressed concerns about Jordi Savall's recital clashing with Norwich City football club's victory parade. In fact any inconveniences were minor, possibly due to fewer football fans turning out for the parade than expected. But whatever the reason it was a great concert, well done to everyone concerned with the organisation. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


Unknown said…
You are absolutely correct. Nothing tops a great concert. I think if the music itself is special it carries the musicians who in turn carry the audience, so that everyone is slightly elevated as a result. There are so many variables in creating that magic that it is hard to discern what they are exactly. However, you are only aware of it when you are present. Louth Contemporary Music Society's recent Sofia Gubaidulina's composer portrait was one of them and I am still not sure why.

Maybe the whole point is that they can't be repeated, it is a once off that can't be replicated, so you have to be present at the performance.

Having said that, I'd love to hear that live performance just to hear what I missed.
is there going to be a radio broadcast of Jordi Savall solo?
Pliable said…
Eamonn, sadly no BBC Radio 3 recording of the viol recital or of Jerusalem. What a shame these performances by one of classical music's living treasures could not have found a slot in the Radio 3 schedules which are currently jammed full of endlessly plugged 'BBC new generation artists'.

Recent popular posts

All aboard the Martinu bandwagon

Will this attract young audiences? - discuss

Whatever happened to the long tail of composers?

Who are the real classical role models?

Mahler that dares to be different

Great music has no independent existence

No big bearded imam was going to tell me music was haram

A year of stories that had to be told

The Berlin Philharmonic's darkest hour

A tale of two new audiences