When I first heard about this project shortly after it was announced, I was intrigued by what the outcome would be. While you can get some sense of how good of a musician someone is having them play alone to a video camera it is a bit different that playing with a bunch of other musicians in Carnegie Hall. Nonetheless, I would say that the first Youtube Symphony Orchestra is was a success. Not necessarily because of the music, which was good but not excellent, but because of what it was. Bringing together a bunch of amateur and professional musicians in a venue and at a level of exposure that is thought of as one for only the most privileged and successful.
The concert itself was good. There are a lot of review out there by people who know classical music much better than myself and my impressions may be totally opposite of what critics think so I won’t say too much about the show. There seemed to be a lack of timing and volume with some of the pieces, especially the Lou Harrison percussion piece. I was quite disappointed with the Canzona Septimi Toni #2 piece. It just seemed like there could and should have been so much more volume and force behind it during certain parts. Since I am a trumpet player myself I always like to hear brass parts that have a lot of weight behind them, I guess I just enjoy the sound of brass instruments a lot more than others. I enjoyed the second act, especially the last three pieces that the played. The Tan Dan arrangement was good as well I thought. The pace of the piece from about the middle on was nice and brought some pep to the music that was missing in the first act.
In all, it was a good concert considering the circumstances surrounding it. What is far more impressive is how the concert was put on and the fact that the musicians only had three days to work together on the pieces. I thought some of the visual effects could have been left out as they seemed overdone but I did enjoy the stories of the musicians and the display of the composer before some of the pieces were played. All in all, a good show and an impressive feat.