Watch: Minnesota Orchestra play ball

Watch: Minnesota Orchestra play ball


norman lebrecht

September 19, 2016

No they don’t. Turns out it was prerecorded.

Seventy of the orchestra’s musicians hustled onto the field and into their positions at the 50-yard line in less than two minutes to start the show with the four most famous notes in music history: the opening to Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5.”

Led by conductor Osmo Vanksa, the orchestra also played “Purple Rain” as a tribute to Prince.

So what, precisely, was the point.


  • Emily E Hogstad says:

    So you’re saying they should have relied solely on the natural orchestra-friendly acoustics of US Bank Stadium?

  • Daniel F. says:

    I’m not sure what the “point” is either, but it’s possible that the Minnesota Orchestra received badly-needed compensation for its appearance as the half-time entertainment. Also, the Minnesota football team is famous for wearing purple jerseys, so that might be the connection with their performance of Prince’s song.

  • mbhaz says:

    And Prince lived in Minneapolis? No harm here – just an orchestra doing what it can to be a member of the community at large. I’m not sure if these sort of things actually do any good. It could have been worse: cutting off the Beethoven like it’s old and dull and needed to make room for the newer. I can’t imagine Mitropoulos, Ormandy, Marriner, Dorati, or Skrowaczewski doing this, but then who knows.

  • Nick says:

    I think there is some good, but not if the orchestra is playing in an open space without massively expensive sound equipment. And why go to that monstrous cost with all the additional rehearsal and personnel involved when few were probably aware the orchestra was not actually playing the sound they were hearing?

    And it’s been done so many times before. Pavarotti’s last ever public appearance at the opening of the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics was recorded in a studio several days in advance. Even the video seen by the TV viewers had been shot at the rehearsal in the stadium the night before.

  • Cyril Blair says:

    That was definitely an earsore but on the plus side, now some football fans know that Minnesota has an orchestra, which they probably didn’t before. And the orchestra earned some goodwill from the fans. Probably minimal benefit.

  • V.Lind says:

    Pre-recording didn’t help with that video. May have been all right in the stadium.

    Whole thing sounded ghastly.

    Still worth doing from a community and possible awareness point of view. And, I hope, financial.

  • Johan says:

    Missing the point? Can no one acknowledge that it was a great event, did you not hear nor saw the 120,000 fans in the stadium with their cellphones swinging to the music? Enjoying the moment, what was bad about that?

    The orchestra, musicians and management as well as the Stadium Management needs to be complimented this is what makes this orchestra so unique and a first is a first. Ask the so called great orchestras that were clipped at the line in the race for Cuba!

    Nobody ever does anything new in the classical music world, just the same old same old! No wonder why orchestras are struggling to survive?

    Orchestras are part of their community, recognising that they could share the same “fans” Sport, other genres of music the same people can enjoy all.
    Make it elitist and it will surely die.

    Great job Minnesota! – magnificent PR.

    • Terry says:

      >> the 120,000 fans in the stadium <<

      Whoa, make that 66,200 fans, but still the largest live audience in MO history (now we hear it was pre-recorded but the fans were *live* at least). Here's a great overview of the half-time setup:

      Joshua Bell and the MinnOrch open the 2016-2017 season this week and the printed program states: "We are deeply grateful to the Minnesota State Arts Board, through which the people of Minnesota provide significant support to the Minnesota Orchestra."

      Those people in the stadium — the taxpayers — cheered for the Orchestra at the conclusion of the Beethoven work. What's not to like? Keep that "significant support" coming!

  • Pamela Brown says:

    For once, Norman, I tend to agree with you.

    But even in a worst-case-scenario we can chalk this up as another example of how far the MO will go to make themselves relevant. They may have won over a generation of football fans.

    We can only wish they had been able to send out even more good vibrations, however, as it looks like AP will be out for the season and a second player was injured during the game. :-0