Just in: London Symphony Orchestra suspends streaming

In the week the music director submitted his resignation, the LSO has hit the pause button on streaming and recording from its St Luke’s site.

Oficially: ‘the Orchestra has paused rehearsing and recording for two weeks from Sunday 10 January. We have a number of recently recorded concerts for broadcast dates during January, on Marquee TV of LSO YouTube’.

Unofficially, the dog days of January are a good time to assess whether streaming is bringing in enough business.

 

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  • I don’t think this is primarily to do with the business sense of streaming. Many UK orchestras and venues have suspended recording either officially or unofficial attributed to concerns over the spread of the new Covid variant. Everyone is trying to do their best to keep their staff safe. There is also the huge inconvenience of large numbers of last minute personnel changes, due to players having to unexpectedly isolate for one reason or another.

  • If I’m understanding correctly, the LSO isn’t suspending ‘streaming’ per se, but rather they’re not recording any new material for streaming purposes for a few weeks. Correct?

  • Or it could be that, on observing the spiralling infection rate in London, decided that, as well as wanting to protect their members from ill health, they wanted to show solidarity with the rest of the residents and NHS in the city staying home, and decided to do likewise! Just a thought! Doesn’t always have to be about money

    • A pandemic, and the Mayor of London declared a major incident on Friday – so while it’s legal for the Arts to continue behind closed doors, many feel a moral obligation to reduce risk

    • Yes, I remember all the speeches Reagan gave about the LSO. He saw it as a threat to the American way of life and devoted considerable resources to its destruction.
      “Mr Abbado, tear down this podium!”
      That was his strapline.

  • The Golden Age of the LSO has been looking tarnished for a while. Gergiev was uninterested in thorough rehearsals. Rattle has had his suitcase packed ready for a quick exit back to his family in the Vaterland.

    Now with Covid, the orchestra does not play anywhere near as well as in normal pre-Covid concerts because of the distancing. I am relieved we don’t have to listen to more relayed distanced concerts because they are not a patch on what the orchestras can do when not distanced, and often sound weird and as though recorded in an aircraft hangar.

    Let us remember how the LSO sounded a few years ago, and look forward to the next era with optimistic anticipation.

    • I don’t get your point. No orchestra is going to sound the same when playing with reduced numbers, spaced very far apart. Also, there are bound to be some temporary personnel changes. Different halls lend them a different sound as well.

      • The point is straightforward. When musicians are spaced far apart (a long way believe me especially for the brass) it is a lot more difficult to play together, difficult to sense relative dynamics and balance, and difficult to sense fine-tuned intonation. Players cannot hear each other to make these judgments which separate a great orchestra from an ordinary one in the end result. The conductor cannot hear everyone as clearly either – except those closest in the front desks of strings. It ends up sounding quite a lot less than great.

        Ensemble becomes ‘pitch & putt’ especially for the woodwind, even more for the brass. You feel as though you are a soloist not a member of an orchestral section.

        To be fair, the LSO is not the only orchestra to experience these effects – it just seem to be the most in denial that anything is not right.

    • Actually they play quite well under the circumstances. The sound of the room is horrible but the actual playing is remarkable. They will find an excellent music director/ chief conductor. In the meantime, Noseda and Roth are going a great job based on the recordings I have been hearing.

  • Once this virus situation has ended I do believe the LSO must opt out of this endless business of finding a foreign big name conductor,it no longer impresses people.The likes of Gergiev etc have proven to be big mistakes, and beauty contest hiring is Hollywood mentality.Just have the self confidence to go your own way,perhaps a Daniel Harding type of person.In other words be more mature in the next appointment.90% of the audience are there for the music not some hedonistic display of baton waving.

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