Should Classical Music Be Played Outdoors?

I’ve spent many pleasant summer evenings listening to an orchestra play outdoors, but I’m well aware that there are some purists who think classical music should be mostly a concert-hall activity. One of these observers, commenting on an upcoming festival gig from Lang Lang (pictured), puts it: ‘Classical music is a quintessentially indoors thing. You need peace and quiet, and preferably a chair, to be open to its subtleties. And a decent acoustic, so those subtleties actually reach your ears rather than vanishing on the breeze. Amplification doesn’t help. Instead of making the sound clear, it tends to blow up odd details, so what you end up with is a cartoonist’s caricature. Added to which there’s the uncomfortable disconnect between the musicians’ small concentrated gestures, and the vast sound booming from the speakers.’

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