Thoughts from the Intermission: On Orchestra

Orchestra, like 'blogging, or anime conventions, is a precarious thing. Listening to P.J. Perry's renditions of Charlie Parker classics, or to John Estacio conducting his entry for the new Hockey Night in Canada theme contest, though, I'm reminded that the Orchestra isn't just for grand symphony performances. There's actually something very popular about an orchestra. In fact, the idea that an orchestra performance is something for the elite is probably a phenomenon of North American and British "Pop" music; latin america has continued to use the orchestra throughout the last hundred years or so, while our "big five" labels have pared things down from "bands" to "groups" to "artists."
So, Orchestras like the ESO hang onto the brim of musical obscurity in the public eye, carving out a public-performance niche with events like this one.

In a way, writing has become a phenomenon expanding in the reverse direction: private writing becomes more and more public, and perhaps less "performative" all the while. "Blogging" is published work, intended for an audience of readers, but without any of the hard-and-fast rules or regulations of the print publishing industry. Rather than making the 'blog into something more like journalism, or more like fiction, and replacing the established publishing market with a new one, this shift actually makes the "old book" market more populist, and carves out a space for "new media" on the edge of that. "Bloggers" don't write 'blogs instead of novels; they write 'blogs about novels, and about other blogs, and so forth.

The Symphony Orchestra has probably saved "Classical Music" as we know it, perpetuating the sound and style and creating a demand for performance spaces like the Winspeare Centre. Certainly there would always be a place for similar sounds in recordings; but anyone who enjoys live music will be able to talk your ear off about how much better things sound when the instruments haven't been run through a "make this sound good for radio" machine.

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