Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dinner and the symphony

Last night, Scott took me out to dinner at a nice restaurant and a symphony concert. We had a lovely evening, lots of fun.

I should note at this point that most of the audience was younger than we are. It wasn't a school thing, either. If anybody was there under duress, it was probably at the behest of a child, not a parent.

You see, the younger generation really will attend a symphony concert, but they'll do it on their own terms. The show was Play, a concert of video game music performed by a live symphony orchestra and chamber choir. If you haven't seen video games in a while, that's not as bad as it might seem. They played medley arrangements of a couple of classics (Mario and Zelda) that for many in the audience were the sounds of childhood. They also played music from some more recent games, including a couple that have yet to come out.

All the pieces were arranged for a symphony orchestra, so they didn't repeat incessantly, and in case you haven't listened to video game music lately, it's gotten a lot richer. With the advent of games on CD and now DVD, along with various other technologies, a lot of current video game music makes for a pretty good symphony. Think good soundtracks for action movies, and you'll have it about right.

For the benefit of the video generation, and for some of us not-so-digital hangers on, they also had a projector going, playing a combination of clips from the video games in question and close-ups of the conductor and orchestra. It was fun, for a change, getting an orchestra-eye-view of the conductor, instead of just the wagging tails of his dinner jacket, and from the far back, the close-ups enhanced the performance considerably.

The audience looked more like a high school on Halloween than a symphony concert audience. By contrast, the orchestra on stage, Symphony Silicon Valley, and with them the Silicon Valley Chamber Choir, are established classical groups in the area. Most of them, I think, were old enough to be the parents of most of the audience members. As such, I have to wonder whether many of them had ever before heard the music they were playing in its native context. No doubt some had children. The rest, as professional musicians, interpreted it simply as music. Either way, we enjoyed the show.


Blogger Patty said...

Hello there! I hope you don't mind me dropping in here ... I get a news feed on any blogs that mention "Symphony Silicon Valley" so your blog came up!

I was one of those folks on the stage ... and yes, I have kids who play some of these games. Still, I can't say much of the music was familiar to me.

It was just so much fun to have such an appreciative audience, and I had a fun time playing the show!

28 May, 2007 07:49  

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