I don’t think we do, either,” he said.
The musicians did show off their virtuosity. Their voice and harmonies flowed effortlessly between all kinds of instruments, and while there certainly would be something to be said for all the high-speed, high-octave “shuffle” of string, bow, and body to be found in orchestral ensemble music, as well, the concert halls were clearly at a point not that far gone on the scale of high-volume jazz — a contrast that was more evident in the more subdued arrangements. While some instruments might lack the dynamic range to take on the role of a concert organ, the instruments themselves were clearly designed to play with one another, which meant that not only is it possible to put these instruments into the concert hall, it is also entirely plausible, and actually quite exciting, to see that. There are some places where this kind of music is allowed.
Backing out of the concert hall and onto some benches was much like visiting any music venue in the country — except that, as the concert progressed, it became less and less like a music venue and more and more like a meeting space for musicians who had heard the music.
The first concert was held in one of the smaller concert halls. The crowd was small, and the concert itself was brief. However, it was well done. I had a nice moment during the encore when I heard a band playing on the top of the main platform; when the band paused, the whole house erupted in applause, and when they resumed playing — a bit quicker than the group — everyone clapped, and so was on to the next song.
The concert was not without the problems associated with most concerts: I didn’t recognize any of the musicians and, as a general rule, the audience did not, either. The audience members were a slightly younger, more ethnically diverse group of students who were mostly female, and who, as most of them seemed to know, had been around long enough to be reasonably used to this sort of thing. They did appreciate the musicians a lot.
This had, in fact, been an experiment. I hadn’t noticed beforehand that the musicians who played the piano were more experienced, or that the group that played the tenors was more diverse, or that the tenors did not have a very high opinion of the piano as a means of communication. The concert may sound like a regular jazz concert, but in fact it is more like an American
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