Critic: Embracing, and escaping, the concert hall

Posted on: November 1, 2016

“To convert Brahms’s German requiem into Human Requiem, a bright flash in this year’s White Light Festival … Lincoln Center’s planners ventured afield,” to an uptown cathedral, writes Justin Davidson on Wednesday (10/26) in New York magazine. “The concert hall and opera house had a relatively brief … monopoly over musical life…. The construction of entire buildings acoustically engineered for large orchestras and audiences in the thousands was a late-19th-century phenomenon…. By now the deinstitutionalization of music has become institutionalized. Groups that started in scavenged spaces … regularly get invited to Alice Tully Hall, eclectic contemporary music has a new official home in Williamsburg, Carnegie Hall dispatches musicians to neighborhood libraries and outer-borough museums.… I attended [the New York Philharmonic’s] first Off the Grid event of the season, a chamber-music happy hour at Pondicheri restaurant…. While they colonize other locations, the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center are girding themselves for a $500 million renovation of their shared home base…. The new space will have to … aspire to a contemporary vibe…. If the Philharmonic does manage to build itself the ultimate all-embracing concert hall, will it still seem as exciting and urgent to keep breaking out of it?”

Posted November 1, 2016