By Robert D. Thomas
Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Joshua Kosman (San Francisco Chronicle)
Zachary Woolfe (New York Times)
Mark Swed (Los Angeles Times)
At first glance, reading these two reviews following a presentation by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis — and Mark Swed’s review of a performance earlier this year by MTT and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall — might seem like the latest chapter in the “were you and I at the same concert” series of reviews.
However, the question these two reviews illuminate is whether inserting visuals (or whatever kind) into a concert piece is helpful or merely a gimmick. Earlier this year the New West Symphony used abstract visuals in its performance of Holst’s The Planets — and I noted the challenges that came from that performance in my review HERE.
Tonight’s performance by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LINK) is quite a different animal but its concept of melding live performance with motion pictures (in this case, Disney cartoons) is another side of the equation: how do we introduce people who are increasingly visually oriented to a medium that has traditionally aural? Do visuals help or hurt?
(c) Copyright 2015, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.