Friday, August 08, 2008

Quantum of Venue

The Complexity Wars of a couple weeks ago have morphed into a discussion about treating the audience and their reaction to a work as a single entity, in an Composer vs. Audience sort of way. Kyle Gann says that reaction is more indicative of venue that anything else, Soho links it in a Freakonomics-way to the dialectic of American and British broadcasting, and Dial M wonders whether performers can bear to acknowledge the apparent disconnection.

Mahler/Post (Post-Mahlerian?) concert etiquette has entirely negated any connection between performance and reception in a modern symphony. The audience is either following rules of courtesy or applauding themselves for listening, no matter what a bunch of shits the NY Phil audience might be. While the "special unique snowflake" crowd may bristle at generalizing people as such, it does give another angle to explain music intertwining with society. This is, I assume, something musicologists are allowed to do.

The problem is, to use mathematical terms, that venue is rarely, if ever, the dependent variable. When orchestras do tour, their repertoire is universally more established* than the home court programs and potential crowd aberrations are much less likely. One of the few examples at immediate memory is the BSO doing home-and-away shows with Steve Reich's "Four Organs". The breakdown is a simple one:

Boston: Quizzical enjoyment
New York: Riot

There must be something to learn from this, although it seems to endorse Gann's "bunch of shits" prognosis. While I was writing a paper on "Four Organs" last year, the riot was explained away by everyone with a phrase similar to "The New York following of the Boston Symphony Orchestra was particularly conservative." How can you say this without data points like the Reich riot? Perhaps it is a dark road I'm traveling, attempt to quantize the Musicks as such.


Daniel W said...

uhhhh, dude, that sounds kind like this time where, ok, so they were playing early michael jackson at this bar, right, and I was pretty hammered. Things are good, early mj is some real hot shit, no? Everyone is like soaked with sweat and the windows are all fogged up and shit on account of how fuckin hot all this dancing is. Pretty soon everyone starts totally losing their shit all over the place cuz, like I said, early michael jackson is some real hot shit. All the chicks are gettin real nasty and the dudes are like all up on it and all this nasty shit, and the place is just fucking on fire. This is the peak, right? Couldn't possibly go any higher, right, or people will start fucking bleeding from their nipples and like having strokes and shit right? Wrong. DJ pulls this fucking sick transition into the part in "crescendrolls" where the beat fucking hits the wall and I swear to god, every single person in the place just fucking broke down into like this weird jelly substance, all flailing arms and thrashing hair and fucking tits and hips all over you and people are just straight up going to like fucking die soon. Its like the fucking end of the fucking world right here in this bar because of early mj and daft punk. You shoulda seen it, shit, man, that was some fucking shit.

Andy H-D said...