Best Classical Concert You've Ever Attended

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Best Classical Concert You've Ever Attended

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Jul 13, 2007, 8:12am

I've seen some pretty amazing ones in my days, but the best one I ever saw wins by a mile:

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir & Tallinn Chamber Orchestra (Tonu Kalljuste, conductor)

Two works on the program:

Vivaldi: "Beatus Vir"
Pärt: "Te Deum"

I don't even really like baroque music, but they did such a beautiful job of performing it that I bought the CD. Their performance of fellow Estonian Arvo Pärt's work was simply breathtaking. The crowd sat in stunned silence for what must've been a minute afterwards before exploding into rapturous applause.

Jul 13, 2007, 10:15am

Dietrich Fischer-Diskau singing Die Winterreise in Carnegie Hall in the eighties.
It was so heartfelt and moving, we had to walk for about a half hour afterward to come down from the emotional high.

Jul 13, 2007, 10:37am

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

Nov 15, 2007, 10:51am

The most memorable concert I've attended was three or four years ago in Toronto. The Emerson String Quartet played Shostakovich's 15th quartet. I have no words. The second half of the program was one of Beethoven's late works, but I was so emotionally spent that I could hardly engage with it at all.

As it happens, I would round out my top 3 concerts with two performances of Arvo Part's music. The first was the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir singing the whole of his "Kanon Pokajanen", and the second was the Hilliard Ensemble singing his "Miserere". Both concerts were magnificently moving.

The two most delightful, light-hearted classical concerts I've attended were, first, the Huelgas Ensemble under Paul van Nevel singing a program of avant-garde late medieval works, full of peculiar and playful effects, and second, Ensemble Clement Janequin singing a program of bawdy (and highly virtuosic) French Renaissance chansons. Incredible.

Nov 26, 2007, 3:28pm

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Mahler IV. Bernard Haitink and Christine Schäfer.
Absolutely sensational!

Nov 26, 2007, 3:53pm

This may be an ego trip, but it was a concert I sang in, where we did three Glorias- The Vivaldi, a Puccini and the Rutter with the Orange County (ny) Classic Choral Society and a pick up orchestra. It was a high point of my life.

Dic 21, 2007, 5:13am

How about this:

Claudio Abbado conducting the La Scala of Milan in a performance of the Verdi Requiem in the ancient theatre of Epidaurus on the Peloponnese in Greece ... one summer's evening in the '80s. That particular theatre is considered the most perfectly preserved architectural structure from ancient Greece. It can accommodate 15,000 souls and the acoustics are so perfect that each one can hear a stage whisper.

Dic 21, 2007, 7:09am

I`ve got nothng to compare with that, and in fact I`m primarily a reggae fan.

I did once go to see Julian Lloyd Webber - an Elgar piece as I recall.

I have been a regular at the annual New Year`s Eve concert by Viva (formerly The East of England Orchestra) in Nott`m UK. We can`t get this year, the first one I`ve missed for years but it was always enjoyable.

Dic 21, 2007, 1:56pm

The highlight of my concert going would be a number of years ago when Herbert Greenberg was the concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and he performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto Op. 61, my favorite piece of classical music. The Beethoven is such a beautiful and amazing work and this was the only live performance I have ever seen and it will remain in my memory forever. I would like to mention a concert in Harrisburg Pa. a number of years back that I saw which featured Vincent Price reciting The Raven by Poe with incidental music accompanyment. The Harrisburg Symphony Orc. also played Schuberts Unfinished Symphony which made for an excellent concert.

Dic 21, 2007, 6:23pm

Lots of concerts coming to mind, but what popped up first was a Virgil Fox "Heavy Organ" concert with all J.S. Bach music and a light show. I only regret that I wasn't high on one or another illicit substance. I can't remember exactly where I was, but I think it was either Detroit or East Lansing. And I think it happened in the seventies. But I'm sure about the performer and the composer and the light show. If you're not old yet, you might not understand about this memory thing. Please don't snicker!

Dic 21, 2007, 11:08pm

Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI performing music from their Villancicos y Danzas Criollas CD (17th century music from the Iberian Pennisula and the New World) in The Church of St. Paul, New Yorkon my birthday two years ago :) It was absolutely marvelous - and I've become a huge fan of their work.

Feb 19, 2008, 6:30pm

Mahler's Second at Davies Hall, San Francisco. Michael Tilson-Thomas conducting. The atmosphere was electric. I've never experienced anything like it, before or since.

Feb 21, 2008, 10:35am

I also have vivid memories of MTT doing Mahler 2 at Davies Hall, from 16-17 years ago (with the Ives Psalm 100, if I remember correctly).

Mar 11, 2008, 11:52am

And more Mahler, this time his ninth, with Abbado and the Berlin Phil, at the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, London, one summer night in the 90s. I bought the ticket from a tout at a hugely inflated price, and sat behind the orchestra. I could see every nuance of Abbado's conducting, and the sound from where I was sitting was fantastic.

Another highlight was the Keith Jarrett Trio in the Royal Festival Hall in London 2000. I flew all the way back from Taiwan to attend this concert, and I was completely overcome with weeping at the end of it.

The Keith Jarrett Trio are, of course, the Holy Trinity of jazz. Three in one.

Mar 31, 2008, 11:10am

Maurizio Pollini in recital at Chicago Symphony Hall, 1993 (?). All Chopin concert. An incredible experience to hear a great master pianist play the music he plays best.

A close second is Earl Wild playing a recital at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in 1977/8. An incredible experience that unfortunately I wasn't knowledgeable enough at the time to fully appreciate.

Mar 31, 2008, 11:17am

Don't mean to be a message hog, but just remembered one more. All 6 Brandenburg Concertos performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra members at Ravinia, sometime in the early 90s. What made the performance particularly memorable was that it was one instrument per part, a VERY chamber orchestra performance. (Another memorable thing was the solo violinist in the 5th concerto having to stop the performance mid-way through the first movement because he had an incomplete copy of his part. He very gracefully stopped the performance, explained to the audience what had happened, retrieved the full part and re-started the concerto at the beginning; a nice reminder that musicians and musical organizations are human after all!)

Jul 8, 2008, 11:07pm

I'm a big Shostakovich #5 fan. I attended a Cleveland Orchestra concert where they played it. One doesn't think of Shostakovich and Cleveland. But the orchestra played brilliantly and nailed every nuance. Spectacular finale. Think the conductor was either Maazel or Dochnanyi.

Dic 13, 2009, 9:55pm

Leonard Bernstein conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra live performing the Shostakovich 7 *Leningrad* symphony in June 1988. Utterly amazing and terrifying! The brass playing was unbelievable! I'll never forget it.

Ene 6, 2010, 6:35pm

The Opera North production of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Lowry, Salford in 2008 was one of the most memorable occasions of my life: absolutely bewitching, even with a slightly hoarse Oberon. My wife loved it as well.

Ene 14, 2010, 10:58pm

There have been many high points in the past 40+ years of active concert-going. But the first professional piano recital I attended, featuring (the then young) Vladimir Ashkenazy, playing Beethoven sonatas, in San Diego, around 1967, truly "converted" me. It made me a concert-goer, rather than just a recorded sound listener. And it will always stand out for me, because it changed my life.

Ene 15, 2010, 9:47am

So many great concerts but . . . Rostropovich conducting the Shin Nihon Philharmonic in a Shostakovich's 7th. The orchestra played out of their heads, with more passion and energy than I had ever heard them produce prior to that concert.

Editado: Ene 22, 2010, 12:29am

One university I attended had a concert every Sunday afternoon, none of them would have counted as outstanding but the idea of coming to listen to a group of people (students, profs and people from the community) who in turn come to make music in an intimate way always appealed to me. As a matter of fact it still does appeal to me. The idea of coming out of a snowstorm or even a warm summer's evening to listen to music is fundamental.
(Edited for spelling)

Mar 17, 2010, 8:50pm

>22 Barton: I only discovered recently that my old university, Salford, held concerts on Monday evenings in Peel Hall. My wife and I went to one the other day and were treated to members of the Marchini Quartet performing piano quartets by Faure and Walton. Excellent acoustics, but there were very few in attendance. Nevertheless, we shall keep our eyes peeled - no pun intended - for the 2010-11 programme.

Mar 22, 2010, 3:48am

Where is Salford, sounds English.

Mar 23, 2010, 5:45pm

24> It is indeed; next door to Manchester, in Lancashire, North-West England.

May 13, 2010, 9:18pm

I’d have to vote for Andres Segovia playing at (then) Orchestra Hall, Chicago, in the 1960s. I wasn’t familiar with classical guitar at the time. It was an eye opening (ear opening?) experience and the most subtle, delicate, melodic music I had heard. The other interesting aspect of the concert was the reverence and quiet of the audience. I still haven’t witnessed anything else like it.

It sounds a little pretentious to me today, but I later described the music to a friend at the time as, “musical lace.”

A very close second was Glenn Gould’s 1964 concert, also at Orchestra Hall, which I got to go to after a friend with piano series season tickets was cancelled out by his date (thank you, whoever you were!).

To this day, his original recording of the Goldberg Variations is my favorite single classical music recording. It also must be a 50% pick of folks in classical music in “ten for a desert island” type surveys.

P.S. #11 "Jordi Savall" - Yes!

May 28, 2010, 6:55pm

I lived in Pittsburgh roughly simultaneous to Mariss Jansons' reign as music director. This was good, in that he regularly programmed a lot of my favorite composers, but not so good, in that I seldom found his conducting exciting or inspiring.

An unexpected exception was the performance of Mahler's 6th symphony, which I believe was actually my last concert attendance before moving away. Utterly devastating, in every sense this symphony is meant to be.

(I later picked up Jansons' recording of this with the LSO, but he seemed to have returned to his old wet-towel self.)