This past Sunday, the Los Angeles Philharmonic presented its second LA Phil LIVE broadcast into movie theaters across the United States and Canada. Things were generally better this time around: Attendance seems to have been up; there was added intrigued brought to the screen by actors; the host was much better; the videography was more pelasing; and the technical were fewer than before.
Several people have shared their thoughts on the performance, and the consensus seems to be that the LA Phil is accomplishing its goals. Despite the various issues and/or drawbacks of these cinecasts, audiences really seem to enjoy them. Let’s face it: They’re fun.
One commenter, Danielle, summed up her impression of the event thus: “What an amazing experience!” That is in line with my previous impressions of LA Phil LIVE. Regardless of how the movie theater experience compares with the concert hall, these cinecasts are an experience unto themselves, and one worth trying.
@NatalieLin was impressed:
A thrilling performance! The LA Phil is a technically superior orchestra, with a dynamic Millennial maestro at the helm. The concert, which married music, performance, and technology (in addition to leveraging the strength of local industry for distribution to theaters across North America) was impressively innovative and reflected the best of leadership from the new generation. I valued the rare opportunity to catch an up-close glimpse of the members of the orchestra, who embody the rich and unique diversity of the city of Los Angeles. Last, but perhaps not least, I was pleased to find that LED lights are used on LA Phil music stands - how wonderful to gain access to a viewing format that enabled us to distinguish such a level of detail!
The venue was highly photogenic with its beautiful, sculptural curves; however, its famous acoustic quality did not entirely transmit over satellite (at least, not to the Zeigfeld Theater). The full depth and fine texture of live LA Phil performances was almost - but not fully! - present outside of the the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Also, I missed the exhilaration of being part of the live audience. There is little precedent for viewing a classical concert in a movie theatre, and in general I think that’s a good thing (after all, why erect barriers to music?). On the other hand, the crunching of popcorn was not a welcome addition to the experience and I think the audience was confused as to how to conduct itself. Finally, I would love to see a more aggressive marketing campaign to drive awareness and word of mouth for future LA Phil Live performances - although the event seemed well attended in NYC, the theatre was not packed (as it should have been for a performance of this calibre).
If I could have scripted a live concert experience from beginning to end for someone who had never been to a classical music concert before, that concert would have looked very similar to yesterday’s “LAPhil Live” performance by Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, broadcast live from Disney Concert Hall and beamed into movie theaters all over the U.S. and Canada (via Fathom Events). It had everything. I’ve been to relatively few orchestra concerts in my life compared to most of the people that probably went to see this, but for me, that was probably the most spectacular classical music concert I’ve ever seen.
And, getting personal, he demonstrates the power of live performance. It inspired him to dive deeper into an art form he might have otherwise avoided:
The Shakespeare actors and actress were, I thought, superb. Like most people, my first introduction to Shakespeare was in high school, and even though I had a teacher that I loved, I hated Shakespeare and did my best to avoid him ever since. I’m not really a good reader anyway, so reading Shakespeare was almost as hard as reading equations in Algebra 2, and made about as much sense (now I’m really showing my sheer lack of brain power, but hey. This is an Authentic cadence. Judge me if you like.). But when those actors acted out those scenes, I got it. Probably for the first time. They made me want to go put a bunch of Shakespeare DVDs on my Netflix in an effort to better appreciate what I’ve been ignoring for so long. And the way it segued perfectly into the music might have been my favorite part of the concert, which segues perfectly into my final point.
Still though, his “bottom line” reminds us of what is likely a concern for many theaters carrying LA Phil LIVE:
…it was an awesome concert and a great experience. I’ll definitely be checking out more of these next year when my schedule permits. I just hope the ten other people in the theater with my wife and I enjoyed it as much as we did.
Please read @musicapologist’s full thoughts on the show here.
Finally, there was also much more action on Twitter for this performance than there was in January. Tweeting with the hashtag #LAPhilLIVE, several people shared their experience with the world as the event unfolded on the screen in front of them. The highlights of the live tweeting are below.
Despite the weird delay this Wednesday, the results are in! As always, thanks much to all of you who participated in this week’s “Drop the Needle” competition. Despite some very good effort, no one got piece and composer correct! This week’s piece was the Dirge from Part II of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 “The Age of Anxiety.”
Here’s the whole thing for you to enjoy:
(If you don’t have a copy, you can pick one up at . The one I have’s even on sale! :-)
Thanks again to everyone who participated and gave it your best shot. If you have ideas for pieces you think would be particularly difficult for people to guess, please let me know.
Back in January, the Los Angeles Philharmonic debuted its new LA Phil LIVE cinecast event. The reviews were largely positive (you can read mine here) and the orchestra is set to stream onto silver screens across North America once again this coming Sunday, March 13th.
Instead of merely attending and reviewing the second round of this event, this time I am organizing a collective endeavor. KillingClassicalMusic.com will be hosting a community review, with input coming in from all over. There will be live tweeting and an opportunity for you to share your thoughts and be a part of the final review that will be posted here.
If you’re a classical music writer/blogger, or if you just think this new event is something intriguing, I encourage you to join in. To participate, all you have to do is attend the event this Sunday and share your thoughts. There are a number of things to focus on, so if you feel particularly well suited for one element, it would be excellent if you focused on that. Key topics include:
- Sound Quality
- The Hosts (there’s a whole slate of actors who will be involved this time)
- The in-theater audience
- Performance Quality
Most interesting of all is how “live” you think this event really is.
Additionally, we will be using the twitter hashtag #LAPhilLIVE for live tweeting and collecting impressions. After the event, all tweets with the #LAPhilLIVE hashtag will be compiled, sorted, and included in the community review.
So, what are you waiting for? Go find out what theaters near you are carrying the show and get your tickets. Then tweet your thoughts and write as much or as little of a review as you want. Submit your thoughts to KillingClassicalMusic.com with the “Submit an article” section, and contact me if you have any questions. Everyone who participates will get all sorts of credit and links, etc. Please include with your submission or in your tweets the city in which you saw the event and your blog and/or twitter feed for crediting purposes.
It will be exciting to see a collective impression of the LA Phil LIVE program, and a nice alternative to the necessarily myopic perspective of the traditional reviewer.