The effects of stay-at-home and quarantine orders on all of us have meant that many daily activities and much of our work lives have had to be suspended or moved online. But we should all remember that for creative artists, this can be even worse. Much of what they do requires them to be in the very kind of large groups that must be avoided if social distancing is to have its desired effect. This isn’t just true in regards to having an audience, but for the artists themselves. Classical musicians in particular are having a hard time continuing their professions in this crisis, with many orchestras furloughing or laying-off their musicians and staff. After all, they must gather in a large group simply to rehearse, much less to perform for an audience.
Or do they?
Starting with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, a spate of new online performances have sprung up, aided by the classical music site Slipped Disc, which is publicizing them widely. The musicians coordinate their performance online but stay in their own homes. The results are nothing short of amazing performances. They also allow these orchestras to share their music with a wider audience, one that might not have ever seen them in a concert hall.
So, to lift your spirits and continue the sharing of beautiful music by these talented musicians, here is a selection of online performances shared by Slipped Disc:
Up first, the now widely-shared performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from the 9th Symphony by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Be aware that they did this in one take, without rehearsal.
For a little comparison, here is another version of the Ode to Joy by the Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon.
In answer to the Rotterdam Philharmonic’s performance, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra put together this performance of a movement from Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring. Unlike the Rotterdam performance, this one was edited together from individual performances coordinated by a click-track.
Next, two pieces from Israeli musicians. First, the Jerusalem Street Orchestra performs Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
Then we have the Thelma Yellin High School Choir and Orchestra performing Mendelssohn’s Psalm 42 on their smartphones from home.
Finally, in a tribute to the resilience of NYC, We have the New York Youth Symphony, who had been scheduled to play their spring concert at the famed Carnegie Hall, performing Mahler’s 1st Symphony. I particularly love this video, since they’re images are all arranged in their sections, just as if they were on stage.
I hope that we can all remember our creative friends, neighbors and colleagues as this crisis continues. Even in the direst of circumstances, they bring a bit of joy and beauty to our lives with their art. If you can do anything to support creatives in this crisis, please do so.