Saturday, April 15, 2006

Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Walt Disney Concert Hall opened in downtown LA just a few years ago, and it s true jewel for the city and its people. I never bothered to go there until Dimitris said that his advisor had bought 4 tickets for a concert that at the end he couldn't attend; so we got Dora and Belma and went with this tickets for free.

I have to say that it is the most beautifully architectured building I've even stepped into; it catches your eye from the first moment you see it across the street: a stainless steel structure that does not have a single straight line on it. Dora was talking to some architecture students back in Athens, and they were more than impressed when she said to them she has seen the building: they study it thoroughly during their university studies.

The interior was even more enthralling and inspiring:

When I first walked into the hall I thought that this place couldn't exist; it seemed abstract and weird as if it was coming out of someone's dream. The Organ looked like something exploded on the back wall, however at the same time it looked liek the ever-changing sea which you can watch and watch but it is never the same. The ceiling is just amazing: it looks like it is going to fall any moment. It is made from wood, it is curved, and includes holes and spacings so that microphones and lights can come out on demand. Again, to me the most wonderfull thing in the desing is that it does not include a single straight line: everything curves and dissapears smoothly to the background. The walls are curved, the floor is curved, the seats are curved.

And now on to the music. Ah, the music! As my obsession with Mozart kept growing after I watched Amadeus, I was very eager to listen to classical music in a hall with proper acoustics. ( I also bought the director's cut remastered dvd of Amadeus - huge improvement in quality!). It was interesting when the orchestra was preparing, when everything was out of tune and random. And then, as Night on the Bald Mountain started, I was crying; I don't know exactly why. I guess it was a beautiful piece, on a beautiful room, and I hadn't heard such music in a concert hall in a very long time.

My favorite was the last part though. A very tough to practice piece, Stavinsky's Firebird. Sometimes it felt weird, but overall it is an astonishing piece because it doesn't have a single theme nor tempo nor structure; it's like a mixture of different pieces together. I had a few tears too listening to that piece, escpecially close to the end. It was the first time that I went to a performance and I trule wanted to give them a standing ovation. And I did.

When I went back home I listened to Firebird again. It wasn't the same piece. The poor rip, the mp3 encoding (even at 192Kbps), the soundcard, the PC speakers, you just don't get the same emotions out like that; it has to be perfect in order to fully appreciate it.

Listening to classical music isn't easy. Not anyone can appreciate a good piece right away, in the same manner that one cannot appreciate what the square root of 2 is unless you have some background in math. I think I liked so much the music now (rather than 10 years ago) was that my own training on classical music has improved a bit: Watching Amadeus, reading Godel, Escher, Bach, and investigating Bach's playful tricks from online sources. I still have a long way to go, but I will try to improve...