Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You Tube Symphony at Carnegie Hall Tonight (Updated)

This mash-up is part of the promotion.

See also last month's post with other videos.

Update, April 16

The day is still early so I can't find a You Tube video of the event, but critics from the NY Times and Daily News seemed to like last night's performance.

Anthony Thommasini in The Times

For those of us hoping to discover what an orchestra of eager and gifted players could accomplish in just a few days’ work, it was frustrating to hear the YouTube Symphony play only single movements from two staples: the joyous third movement of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony, to start the program, and the impetuous, blazing finale of the Tchaikovsky Fourth Symphony, to conclude it.

It may have been frustrating for many of the musicians as well. In the Tchaikovsky, especially, Mr. Thomas pushed them to the hilt, with breathless tempos and full-throttled dynamics. Though a little rough and ready, the performance had drive, color and passion.

Subtlety? Well, that takes more rehearsal time. The orchestra had basically two days to work. Monday they rehearsed from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., which is what a conductor can do when freed from union work rules with an ensemble of unpaid players.

But the idea, however, was to bring together musicians from outside the professional orchestra loop, and at that the project was a breakthrough, or so it seemed from the video interviews with several for the players that were shown between the pieces on the program.

There was Soo-Young Lee, a clarinetist from South Korea, now working in Austria, whose sincere belief that music is the universal language would wither any cynic. And George Dunham, an experienced cellist who makes his living as a professional poker-player in Reno, Nev.

...Tan Dun conducted the premiere of a piece written for the occasion, his Internet Symphony No. 1, “Eroica.” This five-minute crowd-pleaser takes riffs from Beethoven’s “Eroica” and folds them into a score teaming with clanking percussion, corny brass chorales, and perky passages that sounded as if Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon had somehow encountered the Lone Ranger. Other soloists of the evening ranged from the violinist Gil Shaham in a stylish account of the finale from Mozart’s “Turkish” Violin Concerto and the soprano Measha Brueggergosman demonstrating her expertise at unconventional modern music vocalizing in an experimental collage of two piece by John Cage.

Naturally, given the sponsors, the video components of the concert were pervasive, with a cavalcade of clips from the audition entries and introductions to the pieces that zoomed in on the cities in which they were composed. There were so many spotlights and projectors in the hall that pianissimo passages in the music had to compete with the whirring sounds of ventilating fans.

After all the spoken and video tributes to YouTube and Google, you can only hope that this project becomes permanent. It is doubtful that the company will sponsor an orchestra as NBC did for Toscanini during the heyday of radio. But, as Kurt Hinterbichler, a physicist at Columbia University who is also an active performer on the double bass, explained in his video introduction, YouTube deserves credit. The company did, after all, field an orchestra for this event, instead of “the YouTube International Basketball Team.”

Erica Pearson and Bill Hutchinson in The Daily News
[Question: How do two people write one review?]

The group received "Bravos!" and wild applause after playing "Internet Symphony No. 1, Eroica," written especially for the event by Oscar-winning Chinese composer Tan Dun.

"The whole world tonight is Googling around what's happening in Carnegie Hall," Dun said.

Ranging in age from 15 to 55, the musicians were a mix of professionals and amateurs ...

The orchestra was picked from more than 3,000 videotaped auditions uploaded on YouTube in December and January.

Judges representing the world's elite orchestras whittled the number down to 200, from which winners were chosen by millions of YouTube viewers.

Update #2

It's about 2:30 PM and still no "Official" videos.
But here is one from someone who took what was needed to put together a three and a half montage of the evening, concluding with a post-concert quick visual tour of Carnegie Hall.
Somehow this may be capturing the spirit of the project better than any official releases might. I think this is great. Thanks, perfectlittlelife. You did good!

We went to see the YouTube Symphony Orchestra play in Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, April 15. The show was amazing, and afterward we stuck around and explored the theater a little bit. :)

Watch the Mashup video that is playing in the background during Tan Dun's Internet Symphony No. [see top video in this post.]

As far as copyrights go, they didn't say anything about not recording, and seeing as it's a YouTube event, they had to know there would be cameras there, right? And all the music (except Tan Dun's and Mason Bates') are older than dirt so I'm pretty sure those are open for all. Tan Dun's was written for the internet, so that's probably good. And Mason Bates seemed like a cool dude, so he'll probably be cool with me uploading a piece of his awesomeness.

But if Wagner or Rachmaninoff or anybody else has issues with the video, just email me.

Update #3

Here is the official video link.
(I'm not embedding an hour-long video. Readers please make a note to see the video later and keep visiting my blog for the moment.)

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