Digital Concert Hall-A New Chapter In Orchestral Music
Dear Friend & Neighbors,
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Wow! The world is getting smaller and the digital age has certainly made it much easier for my dream to come true. How marvelous!
These are the reactions after enjoying two concerts conducted by Sir Simon Rattle of Mahler and Beethoven (Ludwig van Beethoven-Symphony No.4 in B flat major and Gustav Mahler-Symphony No.1), made possible by Digital Concert Hall. Sharing such intense joy for life by Beethoven …such search in the darkness by Mahler….
For a taste/portion of Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, below:
For the complete recording of the two pieces above, please visit: http://www.digitalconcerthall.com/concert/1735
Since our move down to Central Florida, one of the things that I missed the most about leaving Midwest/Chicago area was the enjoyment of symphonic/orchestral music, not realizing that Digital Concert Hall had been in existence since the end of 2008. My love of orchestral music amplified after our daughter joined the Millenium Symphony later the American Symphonietta (in IL) under the guidance of former Conductor Robert Ian Winstin during her high school years. Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) has also spoiled our ears in terms of expected level of expertise from orchestral musicians. So, on several occasions, when I became starved for some orchestral music, we traveled back to Midwest for some of our previous diet of CSO performances. But the amount of time and expense required prevented this to become part of our regular diet.
You can imagine how thrilled I became after receiving a link from the Digital Concert Hall ! Since July 2014, the archive of the Digital Concert Hall also contains, besides livestreams of more recent concerts of the orchestra, also a collection of archived concerts (reinforced films of highest acoustical and optical quality) of the 1960s and early 1970s, where the orchestra is led by Herbert von Karajan, then the chief conductor. These archive concerts fully display Karajan’s masterhood, as well as that of his musicians. And one can compare different acoustical and optical interpretations; e.g., of Beethoven’s “Pastorale” by Karajan (1971), by Claudio Abbado (2001) and by Sir Simon Rattle (2013).
Modern technology is simply spectacular! To get the moving images, e.g. of the musicians and/or of the conductor, during the concerts, seven high-definition video cameras have been installed above the orchestra’s stage of Hans Scharoun´s Berlin concert hall.
These cameras, and also the microphones for the sound, can be moved by computerized programs.
The audio is transmitted at a rate of 256 Kilobit per second, the code corresponds to stereo Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) at 48 Kilohertz. For the image reconstruction the optimal choice for the user is automatically and instantaneously selected from five qualities offered. The coding corresponds to the H.264 standard (see below). The quality selection is performed automatically according to the available momentary rate of the internet connection. The automatically selected quality is one of five possibilities:
- Very high: 2.5 MBit/s
- High: 2.1 MBit/s
- Medium: 1.5 MBit/s
- Low: 1.1 MBit/s
- Very low: 0.7 MBit/s
The transmitted concerts can thus be “enjoyed” as quasi-live events from the orchestra’s stage, simply with all usual web browsers with two loudspeakers, or by television receivers or Blue Ray-players with the appropriate equipment.
Now, I can enjoy world class orchestral performances from my office or family room in Windermere, FL, without the cost of time or expense of traveling to Chicago (the cost of annual subscription to Digital Concert Hall, around $200, is less than the cost of a round trip plane ticket between Orlando, FL and Chicago, IL). I will look forward to the day when all other world class symphony orchestras will follow the example of Berlin Philharmonic, eventually also making their performances accessible online. Then my next question will be: will this help to dramatically increase the compensations of professional orchestral musicians or will it dramatically reduce the cost of tickets for those who will be attending the physical concerts? Perhaps, in an ideal world, both will occur?!
Finally, as Sir Simon Rattle notes in these videos,
we are facing a new model of how orchestral music is being recorded and shared. Through high resolution audio and video material, the worldwide orchestral music lovers will now be able to access high quality orchestral performances on demand and at much lower cost and higher level of conveniences. In some respect, it’s almost better than being there. I love this new model! As our world evolves, I cannot wait to see what else the new model has in store for us. Until the curtain of future unveils itself, I will sit back, relax, and select another master piece of performance from the Digital Concert Hall, from my Windermere home. Isn’t it wonderful that our world is getting smaller and more accessible for every one?!
~Let’s Help One Another~
Gathered, written, edited, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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