Last Thursday my youth Wind Ensemble had our fall concert. We played excellently, but that is beside the point. The Youth Symphony Orchestra, on the same program, played the last movement from Mahler’s 3rd Symphony. Sitting in the audience, I was struck by the beauty of the piece. One of my friends in the group had said that they had only rehearsed the movement twice, thus making the performance seem more awesome. But back in the dressing room, some of the players were lamenting the poor performance, to which I responded, it sounded great where I was sitting. Apparently the principal oboe missed a solo, which I didn’t notice, not knowing the music that well (I should change that). But this whole thing made me think, why does it seem that what the performers think of a performance, differ so greatly from what the audience thinks of a performance?
It could be a modesty thing. Oh, it wasn’t that great. That seems to be a common one. In my case, I may have thought well of the music due to my lack of knowledge of it. Sometimes the performers know the music so well, that little things seem big. Who is right though? I think only after repeated listens can one make a good judgement of the quality of a performance.